HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — Harris County Sheriff deputies found three children abandoned inside a west Harris County apartment complex Sunday along with skeletal remains.
At about 3:15 p.m. Sunday, deputies said they received a call from a 15-year-old who claimed his 9-year-old brother has been dead for a year and his body was in a room next to his in an apartment in the 3500 block of Green Crest, near Addicks-Clodine and the Westpark Tollway.
The teenager then told deputies his parents hadn't been living in the apartment with him and his two younger siblings for several months.
Deputies went to the third-floor apartment and found the three children alone as well as the skeletal remains of a small child. Deputies said the remains appeared consistent with the age provided by the 15-year-old.
The younger siblings, who Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said were 10 and 7, appeared malnourished and showed signs of physical injury, according to investigators. They, along with their 15-year-old sibling, were taken to a nearby hospital to be treated.
Child Protective Services said they are currently investigating alongside law enforcement.
In a statement released Monday morning, CPS said:
"To ensure the safety of the children, the Department of Family and Protective Services is seeking emergency custody of the three boys. Child Protective Services does have history with the family, but there was no active CPS investigation at the time the children were discovered alone in their apartment."
Watch Sunday's update from Sheriff Gonzalez in the video player below:
The mother of the children and her boyfriend have been located and were being interviewed by homicide investigators as of Sunday night.
Sheriff Gonzalez said in a tweet Monday morning that the mother and her boyfriend were released. No charges have been filed.
KHOU 11 News has also learned that the children's mother and others would occasionally bring the children food, but officials said it appears, for the most part, they were left to fend for themselves.
"In our experience, it's always best to not speculate and just let the investigation take its course, but a very disturbing set of circumstances, so we definitely want some answers for these children," the sheriff said.
Becca, a mother who lives in the apartment complex, was devastated to learn about this situation. She said this hits her especially hard because she’s a mom.
“I have a 21-year-old and an 11-year-old and I can never imagine leaving them abandoned anywhere," Becca said.
The cause of death of the deceased child will be determined by a medical examiner.
A representative for the apartment’s management company declined to talk to our reporter on scene.
This is an active investigation.
Check back for updates.
Watch raw video from the scene below: