HOUSTON, Texas — A mother and her boyfriend have been arrested in connection with the death of the woman’s 8-year-old son whose body was left to sit in a Texas apartment for about a year, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Ed Gonzalez announced Tuesday evening that 31-year-old Brian W. Coulter has been charged with the murder of the boy who was found dead Sunday in a Houston apartment, where the child’s three brothers had been living.
The children’s mom, 35-year-old Gloria Y. Williams, has also been charged with injury to a child by omission, and tampering with evidence involving a human corpse, according to Gonzalez.
Additional charges are expected to be filed.
The sheriff says his officers discovered the skeletal remains at the apartment after receiving a phone call from the deceased boy’s 15-year-old brother.
“Our deputies received a phone call from a 15-year-old child who advised that his brother had been dead for a year and his body was in an apartment unit at 3535 Green Crest near Westpark Tollway,” said Gonzalez at a press conference.
The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences says the deceased child suffered multiple blunt force injuries.
The two other surviving boys were 7 and 10 years old, according to the sheriff’s office.
The sheriff says the boys appeared malnourished and showed signs of physical injury. All three were transported to an area hospital to be assessed and treated for their injuries. Child Protective Services is assisting with caring for the kids.
During a court hearing on Wednesday KTKR reports that the two younger brothers testified that their mother’s boyfriend kicked and punched their 8-year-old brother until he stopped moving and had black eyes. They also reportedly said Coulter then covered the boy’s body with a blanket.
“For many agency veterans, it was the most disturbing scene they’ve worked in their entire law enforcement career,” said Gonzalez. “It seemed too horrific to be real. It’s hard to even explain to you that feeling. Our investigators immediately began piecing together what happened and trying to unfold a seemingly senseless death of a child who was supposed to be loved and cared for. And trying to understand unspeakable living conditions for the dead child’s siblings who were left alone for months to fend for each other.”
Editor's note: A previous version of this story said the boy is believed to have died sometime around Thanksgiving in 2020, citing CNN, but the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences says they have not released a time of death yet.