Three abandoned boys were found alive living with the skeletal remains of their brother in a Houston, Texas, apartment on Sunday, Oct. 24, officials said.

The officials made their discovery as they responded to a 911 call from the eldest of the children, a 15-year-old, saying their 9-year-old brother had been dead for a year, ABC13 reported.

“I have been in this business a long time, and never saw anything like this,” exclaimed Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez in a press briefing Sunday. “[We’re] Connecting all the dots at this point, it appears [the kids] were in there while the body was deteriorating.”

The skeletal remains of the 9-year-old boy were found in the open outside of the apartment. There was no sign of any attempt to bury or hide him. The cause of death had not been determined.

In addition to their teenage brother were a 10-year-old and 7-year-old who appeared emaciated with signs of physical injury, according to NBC News. All three had been taken to a hospital for treatment. 

The teenage boy who was believed to have been the main carer of his brothers told officials their parents would not return to the apartment for months, per ABC13. 

Officials were able to locate the mother and her boyfriend late Sunday and questioned them about the boys. They were released the next morning with no further information updated yet. 

An investigation is pending and no one has been charged by far.

Neighbors told the Daily Beast they had been smelling a foul stench for a while and requested maintenance on the place. They could not believe the situation could remain unrecognized that long.

“I’m concerned nobody smelt nothing,” the neighbor who had spent 15 years living in the unit said. “Something’s not adding right. Something ain’t right.”

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