Police are now searching for a third suspect, Deandre Dorch, 36, after authorities located 8 children left unattended in a Bexar County, Texas, home last week—two of which, were tied up in the backyard.
His wife, Porucha Phillips, 34, was immediately taken into shortly after the children were found on charges of injury to a child.
The mother of the two children tied up outside, Cheryl Reed, 30, was arrested on May 5.
A neighbor called police at around 11:45 p.m. on April 29 to report what she believed was an instance of child abuse, after hearing a child crying for a long time.
What deputies found when they arrived, was quite shocking.
They knocked on the front door, but after no answer, they climbed on a ladder to look into the backyard—they spotted a 2-year-old boy chained to the ground, and a 3-year-old girl tied via dog leash to a door, according to a press release by the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.
Inside the home, officers found six more children; ranging in age from 10-months to 13-years-old, all of which were found without adult supervision.
A statement released by the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office said investigators on the case are trying to sort out the roles that each adult played in committing the crime.
“We’ve had to deal with some people who have been less than honest,” spokesperson James Keith told KSAT. “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.”
Keith said it appears Reed had lived with the couple for several months since late 2015. She told police that she left her children with the couple in February while traveling to California.
Investigators say it appears Dorch and Phillips may have used the children to threaten Reed.
“Porucha and Deandre wanted money from her,” Keith told KSAT. “And when she failed to send them money, we believe Deandre then began to threaten her.”
After speaking to authorities once—telling them Reed had prior abused the children—Dorch has now fled, and there is a warrant out for his arrest. Dorch said he witnessed the abusing, but didn’t report it because he claimed he’s “not a snitch” or “God.”
Keith said the children all suffered bruising; some scars new, and some old.
“There were literally hundreds of wounds on these children. Hundreds. And that’s not an exaggeration,” he said, according to KSAT.
Both Reed and Phillips are facing several charges: injury to a child by omission with serious bodily injury, and child neglect.
All eight children are currently in the care of Child Protective Services.
Anyone who knows the whereabouts of Deandre Dorch is asked to call the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office’s tip line at 210-335-TIPS (8477).