Children who were found tied up a Texas backyard sustained “hundreds of injuries and scars,” police said, referring to a discovery last Friday that authorities have called “sickening” and “horrific.”
Cheryl Reed, the 30-year-old mother of the two young children found in Bexar County, Texas, faces felony child abuse charges. She was arrested on Thursday night with two counts of injury to a child with bodily injury.
However, it’s not exactly clear who restrained her 3-year-old daughter with a dog leash and her 4-year-old son with a chain, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. The two children had been under the care of Porucha Phillips and her husband, Deandre Dorch, officials added.
Doctors said there were “investigators there were hundreds of injuries and scars that ranged from fresh injuries to old injuries on the two toddlers that could have taken place over months or years,” the sheriff’s office said, as reported by the Washington Post.
After the two children were found outside, authorities discovered six more children—ranging from 10 months in age to 13 years old—in the house. They had no adult supervision.
“We’ve had to deal with some people who have been less than honest,” Bexar County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson James Keith told KSAT this week. “It’s still too soon to say exactly who tied them up in the backyard, but what we do know is that Deandre and Porucha were responsible for their care.”
The young girl had hypothermia and had a broken arm, officials said. Human feces were found nearby.
About 10 feet away, his younger sister was tied with a dog leash attached to a garage door, her wrists bound above her head. Doctors later determined her right arm was fractured in two places. Dehydrated, cold and hungry, the kids had scrapes to their legs, backs, wrists and ankles that investigators believe happened over a two-week period.
The house, located in the Camelot II subdivision, had only a couch for furniture and reeked with the stench of backed-up toilets. Clothes were strewn across the floor. No parent was home. The pregnant mother of six children who were found unharmed inside arrived during the night and was arrested.
They have since been released from the hospital. The eight children in total are now in state custody.
“There was obvious evidence that a switch had been used on the children,” he said, referring to a slim tree branch.
Keith added that investigators are still trying to determine the relationship between Reed and two others, Dorch and Phillips. They are facing charges of injury to a child by omission.
Phillips is the mother of the six children found in the home, and Dorch is the father to some. Phillips is currently pregnant and being held in Bexar County jail, and authorities are still searching for Dorch.
Reed was on her to California where she needed to address a child-protective matter in the state, MySanAntonio reported. Keith said she had promised to pay Phillips and Dorch, either for rent or to look after her kids. But when she didn’t pay, the couple became angry and might have threatened her.
“She’s just trying to figure out what happened, just like I am and the police,” Phillips’ attorney Alan Futrell was quoted as saying. “It’s too early to say anything.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.