The death of a nine-year-old boy whose body was discovered inside a Houston apartment that also housed his three starving brothers, was deemed a homicide over the weekend.
According to the Daily Mail, Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office found a nine-year-old boy who suffered multiple blunt force injuries and thus said he died by homicide.
A spokesperson for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office wrote: ‘no charges have been filed by our investigators as of today. The findings of the Institute of Forensic Science along with our investigation results will be presented to a prosecutor when applicable.’
According to the victim’s 15-year-old brother, he and his two surviving siblings had been living in their apartment for a year with his brother’s decomposing body.
Shortly before the teen called 911 on Sunday, he texted his mother to tell her he could not take it anymore.
The call revealed that the three children, aged 15, 10, and 7, had been left to fend for themselves for several months, relying on food donations from neighbours to survive, while sharing an apartment with the decomposing remains of their 9 year-old brother—even though their mother and her boyfriend lived only 15 minutes away, reported the Daily Mail.
The couple was interrogated by Harris County Sheriff’s Office detectives before being released on Monday, while the conclusion of the criminal investigation is pending.
The shocking discovery at the apartment complex on Houston’s west side has prompted a child welfare probe in Texas.
According to investigators, the 15-year-old said that his parents had not lived at home for months, effectively abandoning him and his siblings.
When police arrived at the place on Sunday afternoon, they discovered the brother’s skeleton bones out in the open.
The neighbors claimed they never reported the incident to the authorities because they were unaware of the gravity of the issue involving the teen, who was described as quiet and reserved.
Erica Chapman and Trevor Thompson were neighbors who helped and fed the boy.
“I didn’t want to push him away by asking questions because I knew he was starving and needed food,” Chapman said.
According to law enforcement officials, the two younger boys appeared to be malnourished and ‘showed signs of physical injury.
“It appears they were basically fending for each other,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.
“The older sibling was doing the best he could to take care of the others.”
The HCSO is now examining the circumstances surrounding the minor’s death, as well as the length of time the children had been alone.
According to residents, management had been performing inspection rounds in the neighborhood for the last couple of weeks.
A neighbor next door said that she had no idea anyone, let alone children, lived in that unit.
She complained to the building’s management about the odor multiple times, but it’s unclear whether anyone went to the siblings’ flat to investigate it.
The woman said the odor was so terrible that she had to turn off her air conditioning to keep it from entering her apartment through the vents.
The case is still in its early stages and investigation will continue, according to police.