A neighbor of the three children abandoned with skeletal remains in a Texas home said she feared they were struggling and brought over food — but was “disgusted” to learn the extent of their horrific living conditions.
Erica Chapman said she had once encountered the oldest sibling, a 15-year-old boy, sleeping on a playground slide near their Houston apartment building, news station KHOU reported.
“I asked him if he was hungry. He said, ‘Yeah,’ and I brought him out some food and some drinks,” Chapman told the outlet.
Chapman said that she had a feeling that something was wrong but she wanted to tread carefully so the boy would continue to come to her for help.
“He wouldn’t talk about his parents,” Chapman said. “I did not want him not come to me for food. If you’re that hungry, I want him to come to me because I at least knew he was eating.”
The teen called authorities on Sunday to report that he and his two younger brothers, ages 10 and 7, had been living alongside their 9-year-old brother’s remains for a year.
Officers removed all three siblings from the home and brought them to the hospital.
Chapman said that she was horrified to learn about the reality of their situation.
“Honestly, I’m disgusted,” Chapman said. “If I knew something was wrong with any of those kids, I would have took all of them.”
She said that she wishes she could tell the eldest brother “to keep his head up.”
“I love him and I would take him and his brothers,” she said, adding, “This ain’t his fault.”
The sheriff’s office is continuing to investigate the situation.
The mother of the children and her boyfriend were brought in for questioning, but have since been released and no charges have been filed, authorities said.