Authorities and residents across the country, not just in Bexar County, Texas, are sickened at the discovery of eight children who were left alone, including two who were tied up in the back yard like dogs.
A neighbor called authorities after hearing a child’s continuous crying late last Thursday night. Bexar County deputies arrived quickly and knocked on the front door of the townhouse, but there was no answer, Fox News reported. When they looked in the back yard, they discovered two children. A 2-year-old boy was tethered by a chain around his ankle that was anchored in the ground. A 3-year-old girl was restrained with a dog leash tied to the door. That little girl also had a broken arm.
— TWC News Austin (@TWCNewsAustin) April 29, 2016
Inside the home, deputies found six more children, who they determined all belong to 34-year-old Porucha Phillips. The pregnant mother of the six children arrived home after authorities were already there, and she was arrested on two felony charges of injury to a child. She is being held on $75,000 bond for each charge. Her common-law husband was also taken into custody for questioning when he arrived home a short while later, but is not believed to be responsible for the two children tied up in the back yard and has not been arrested.
Those toddlers are believed to be siblings and do not belong to Phillips, but authorities said Phillips was supposed to be caring for them. The eight children, five girls and three boys, range in age from 10 months to 10-years-old. All eight were seized by the state. The little girl with the broken arm was given medical attention, along with her brother, and they remain in the hospital. CASA and Child Protective Services worked together to place the remaining six children in foster care.
Bexar County District Attorney Nicholas LaHood said of the scene, “I would describe it as disgusting.” He could not fathom “what kind of individual could treat children like this.” Legal proceedings to remove all eight children are currently in the works, according to Child Advocates San Antonio.
Sheriff: Mother of 2 children found chained in backyard found, cooperating with abuse investigation https://t.co/DN0odFcG4E via @mySA@
— Elizabeth Zavala (@elizabeth2863) May 2, 2016
Bexar County Sheriff’s Office investigators began the search for the parents of the two children tied up in the back yard immediately, and over the weekend tracked down their mother in California, mySA reported. Although they have not publicly identified the mother yet, James Keith, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, says she is cooperating with their investigation.
Keith said they are trying to figure out if she had any role at all in the horrific situation. “We’re trying to figure out what role she may have played in this and whether she even knew what was going on.” He also said they believe this is not the first time the children had been abused.
There has been an overwhelming response since the discovery of this unsettling child abuse situation. Not only did authorities swoop in and take care of these children, but the community has offered their support. Keith said the Sheriff’s Office has been “inundated” with phone calls from people who want to help. Neighbors were working on putting together a barbecue fundraiser over the weekend.
Keith points out an important issue, though, asking for those who wish to donate to give to “local organizations that serve victims of child abuse.” These are not the only cases of child abuse out there. These, he says, “are children that made it on the news, but we know that there are countless others.” For information on how to donate or become a foster parent, a local TV station, ksat, provided some information on their website.
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]