Earlier this week, three underage teens were found abandoned in an apartment that contained the skeletal remains of their 8-year-old sibling.
Described as a “house of horrors” by The Daily Beast, the children had been surviving “in part thanks to a neighbor who brought them food and charged their cellphone after the home’s power was recently cut off.” This neighbor had been helping the kids — aged 7, 10, and 15 — for a couple of weeks after the 15-year-old boy said his parents had left months earlier, according to police.
One of the surviving children said their sibling, identified as Kendrick Lee, had been dead for a year and that his body remained in the home during that time, decomposing.
Law & Crime reported that authorities say 31-year-old Brian Ward Coulter allegedly beat the child to death and that the mother, 35-year-old Gloria Yvette Williams, allegedly helped in a cover-up. The two adults allegedly abandoned the children months before they were found.
Coulter was charged with felony murder, and the complaint accuses him of “unlawfully, intentionally and knowingly commit the felony offense of injury to a child by intentionally, knowingly and recklessly causing serious bodily injury to Kendrick Lee, hereafter styled the Complainant, a child younger than 15 years of age, by striking the Complaint with the Defendant’s hand, and by kicking the Complainant with the Defendant’s foot, and while in the course of and furtherance of the commission of said offense did commit an act clearly dangerous to human life, to-wit: striking the Complaint with the Defendant’s hand and kicking the Complainant with the Defendant’s foot, and did thereby cause the death of Kendrick Lee.”
In the charging documents against Williams, deputies wrote that she helped “alter, destroy, and conceal” the child’s body “with intent to impair its availability as evidence in any subsequent investigation of and official proceeding related to the aforesaid offense.”
The two younger surviving kids “appeared malnourished and showed signs of physical injury,” police wrote in their complaint against the mother and her boyfriend.
“It is believed the parents have not [lived] in the unit for several months,” deputies added.
Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Edison Toquica wrote in a statement posted to Twitter: “Glad we have arrested the two responsible for the death of this innocent child, and the abuse of the other children.”
“Houston, it’s a sad situation when individuals responsible for the welfare of innocent children are the ones that turn their back on them,” he added.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told reporters earlier in the week that it looked like the children “were basically fending for each other” and that the “older sibling was doing the best he could to take care of the others.”
The Beast reported that residents of the apartment complex were surprised to learn that this was happening in their neighborhood without anyone knowing.
“If an adult was bringing them food to eat, they must have seen that child,” one resident told the outlet, adding that “Something’s not adding right. Something ain’t right.”
Another neighbor told KTRK that the smell from the apartment was so bad she couldn’t run her air conditioner or it would be carried through her home. That neighbor said she complained to management, but nothing happened.