An anonymous neighbor in San Antonio had listened to a child cry in her neighbor’s backyard for a long time. Concerned, she called 911 late Friday night. Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the home and found eight children — aged 10 months to 10-years-old — unattended.
And two of them were chained in the backyard like dogs.
“I would describe it as disgusting,” Bexar County District Attorney Nicholas LaHood told Fox News. “It shocks your conscience when you think what kind of individual could treat children, who in my opinion are gifts from God, like this.”
A 34-year-old woman named Porucha Phillips has been arrested and is now facing child abuse charges. The eight children are either recovering in the hospital or cleared for the foster care system. More charges will likely be filed.
Six of the eight children belong to Phillips. The two children tied up outside aren’t hers, but were placed in her care. Police are searching for the parents. According to Fox 29, she claims the pair — who are believed to be brother and sister — were left by their parents and she’d intended to drop them at a fire station because she didn’t have the capacity to care for them.
Neighbors were evidently unaware that she and the father were allegedly abusing their children. The family had lived there since October and deputies had responded to seven calls at the house, all regarding unrelated complaints.
On Friday, they arrived to investigate the report of a crying child and knocked on the front door; no one answered. Neither Phillips, nor the children’s father were there at the time. Deputies grabbed a ladder to peer into the backyard and found a horrific scene, My San Antonio reported.
“The little boy was chained to the ground. The little girl was tied up with a dog leash to a door. It was obvious they had both been there a while. There (were) obvious signs of abuse.” Sheriff’s Office spokesman James Keith told KSAT. “It was the same kind of setup you would use for a dog.”
The child chained to the ground was a 2-year-old boy, and his apparent 3-year-old sister was tied to the door.
While investigators were on scene, Phillips and the father arrived and were immediately arrested. Porucha has denied tying up the siblings. Police are still trying to determine her relationship to them.
Keith said the word “horrific” wasn’t a strong enough word to describe the abuse they found.
“It’s disgusting. It’s sad. It’s unbelievable. And we want the public to know that we will use every ounce of our energy to make sure the people who did this are held accountable and that these children are never hurt like this again.”
The Department of Family and Protective Services said CPS now has custody of the eight children found: five girls — aged, 1 two aged 3, a 9 and 10-year-old; and three boys, aged 10 months, 4, and 8.
All eight have been examined by doctors and may be malnourished; six have been medically cleared. The two found chained in the backyard are still in the hospital. The little girl suffered superficial injuries, including abrasions and scarring, and the little boy had a fractured right wrist and arm.
Phillips is facing a barrage of charges: third-degree felony count of injury to a child by omission resulting in bodily injury and another resulting in serious bodily injury, a first-degree felony. The father hasn’t been charged yet and claimed that he was at work when the eight children were found.
Keith was grateful to the 911 caller, whose actions rescued these eight children from a horrifying situation.
“I don’t even want to think about how this could have happened, how this could have played out, had our deputies not gotten there when they did.”
Since six of her kids were found abused, police have discovered that Phillips is pregnant with a seventh child.
[Photo By Stefano Ember/Shutterstock]