Three abandoned children were found near the skeletal remains of their nine-year-old brother in a building in Texas.
Authorities said the youths, aged seven, 10 and 15, were discovered at an apartment complex west of downtown Houston on Sunday.
Heartbreaking. @HCSOTexas the units are located in an apartment complex at 3535 Green Crest, near Addicks Clodine & Westpark Tollway. The units found three abandoned minors in an apartment. Skeletal remains, possibly from another juvenile, were also found inside the unit. #HouNews pic.twitter.com/uVcybOugM9
– Ed Gonzalez (@SheriffEd_HCSO) 24 October 2021
The 15-year-old reportedly said his younger brother had been dead for a year and was in the next room.
He also said their parents had not lived in the apartment for several months.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez called the situation “heartbreaking” with the children living in “appalling conditions”.
A statement on the police department’s website said: “MPs responded to the apartment at 3530 Green Crest and discovered the skeletal remains of a small child which appeared to match the age provided by the 15-year-old. years.”
The mother of the children and her boyfriend have been found and are being questioned by homicide investigators.
NBC News, via affiliate network KPRC, reports that the children were found during a social check in an apartment.
The three children may have been in the apartment for months or even a year, Sheriff Gonzalez told the station.
“I was not told that they were necessarily locked up, but at this age it seems they are basically defending each other,” he said.
Mr Gonzalez added that the three children appeared to be malnourished and showed signs of physical injuries.
All three were taken to hospital for treatment.