Three boys aged 15, 10 and 7 have been found living in an abandoned apartment in Harris County, Texas.
Police responded to an apartment complex in the 3535 block of Green Crest near Addicks Clodine and Westpark Tollway on Sunday afternoon.
When they entered the apartment, they found skeletal remains, believed to be that of a minor, along with three other living children. The remains were found in an open area of the apartment – they were not concealed or hidden.
During a news briefing, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez called the situation “horrific” after he saw how the children had been living.
“[We’re] Connecting all the dots at this point, it appears [the kids] were in there while the body was deteriorating,” Gonzalez said.
The children and remains had been there for an “extended” period of time.
“And I emphasize extended,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said authorities responded after the 15 year old called police and said that his 9-year old sibling had been dead in the apartment for a year. Investigators said the 15-year-old told him his parents have not lived in the apartment for months.
The sheriff’s office said the mother of the children and her boyfriend had been found. Authorities interviewed the couple and they have currently been released without charge.
The mother of the children has been identified as Gloria Williams.
“The first time I saw him, he was sleeping on one of the slides,” said neighbor Erica Chapman.
Neighbors said the 15-year-old relied on them for food. Erica Chapman said she knew something was wrong because his mother was rarely home, so she started giving him food 6 months ago.
“She would come and park, and he would run down and grab noodles, drinks and chips and run back up,” Chapman said.
Chapman said he wouldn’t accept cooked meals. He would only take packaged snacks, fruit and pizza.
Another neighbor, Trevor Thompson, said he would also provide the teen with food. He described him as paranoid and said he was afraid of getting poisoned, which is why he would only accept certain food.
“A few times I noticed the lights weren’t on, and it was quiet upstairs, so I figured there was trouble because the parents haven’t been there in a while,” Thompson said. “One day, he came here and knocked on the door and asked if he could use the charger, and we built a bond from there. I started offering him food because I knew he needed more than just a charger.”
What both Thompson and Chapman were unaware of were the secrets and horror happening inside the apartment. They didn’t even know there were two other brothers living there.
Thompson said he once asked how the pizza he got him was.
“I asked, ‘Did you like the pizza?’ And he asked, ‘What? The first pizza we had?'” Thompson said. “That made me wonder why would he say, ‘We.'”
Chapman thinks the 15-year-old kept his other two brothers a secret out of fear.
“After finding out what happened yesterday, I think he was more nervous and scared,” Chapman said. “Are they going to blame me for this? Are my parents going to punish me for this? Maybe his parents told him they would be separated if he told anyone.”
CPS also clarified their involvement with the children:
“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.”
On October 26, Gloria Williams (the mother of the children) and her boyfriend Brian Coulter were arrested.
Gloria has been charged with felony injury to a child by omission, failure to provide medical care and failure to provide adequate supervision. Brian has been charged with felony murder.
Both boys recalled Coulter kicking and punching the 8-year-old repeatedly until he stopped moving and had black eyes. The boys said Coulter then covered his body with a blanket.
Following the arrests, Brian Coulter is being evaluated in a mental health unit. His bond has been set at $1 million. The judge ordered he have no contact with any minors, specifically the minor witnesses in the case, and no contact with Gloria.
Gloria’s bond has been set at $900,000: $350,000 for injury to a child, $300,000 for tampering with evidence and $250,000 for injury by omission.
Gloria has been ordered to have no contact with her children, or any other minors, and no contact with Brian.
Media reports say that the children had different fathers – one of the men is deceased and the other has no contact with his kids.
Sgt. Dennis Wolfford told the media that at least two of the children in the apartment had special needs and were thought to be autistic. Gloria has at least two other children, and we believe one of her children, Jasmin has been reported missing multiple times.
Jasmin has made a recent social media post about the death of her brother, so we believe she is alive.
She back into the room where the beating took place and found the 8-year-old deceased under the blanket. Williams reportedly confronted Coulter, who she said apologized and claimed he lost control and kept punching him “until he went to sleep.”
According to the details revealed in court, Williams admitted she knew her son was dead in November 2020, but did not notify law enforcement because Coulter told her not to. She was afraid her kids would be taken by CPS, and she was afraid she would go to jail.
We also learned that the apartment where the boys were living reportedly had no furniture, no bedding, soiled carpet and cockroach and fly infestations.
Gloria and Brian also confirmed that they would occasionally visit the boys, and Brian would beat them. It is believed that Brian beat the 9 y/o badly around three weeks before they were found – the child is scheduled to have jaw surgery in the next few days.
Sgt. Dennis Wolfford told the media that the boys wanted donuts when they were found, and police officers took them directly to a donut shop. “Very sweet children. Very nice. Very well spoken… at the same time, that thousand yard stare, that blankness in the eyes,” Wolfford said of the kids. “At the same time they were as sweet as you can be. Nice children.”
Gloria and Brian both got matching ‘Warrior’ tattoos following the murder of the child. Ugh.