Police authorities said on Friday that two toddlers, a girl and a boy, were found tied up in the back yard of a home in San Antonio, Texas, with “hundreds of injuries and scars.” The 3-year-old girl was restrained with a dog leash while her 4-year-old brother was restrained with a chain.
According to a spokesperson for the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, who described the case as “horrific” and “sickening,” authorities became aware of conditions in the house after a neighbor reported hearing a child crying persistently.
Police arrested Cheryl Reed, 30, mother of the children, on Thursday, at a motel off Interstate 10 near Vance Jackson Road. She was charged with two counts of injury to a child, according to MySanAntonio.com.
A married couple in whose house the two toddlers were found are also involved in the case.
The toddlers were in the care of Porucha Philips, 34, and husband Deandre Dorch, 36, who live on Chipping Drive in the Camelot II subdivision of San Antonio.
Philips and Dorch also have six children of their own who lived in the house. According to a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the couple had no previous CPS history in Texas.
The six children and the restrained toddlers were found in the backyard of the house, unsupervised, when deputies arrived. The children are now under the care of Child Protective Services (CPS).
Pregnant Poruchia Philips, mother of the six children, was arrested and charged when she returned home in the night. Police issued an arrest warrant for her husband Deandre Dorch and were searching for him.
He had told investigators that he saw the toddlers’ mother Reed whip them with a switch on multiple occasions. When asked why he did not report the child abuse, he said he did not want to “snitch” because he was not “God.”
“He told investigators it wasn’t his place to report child abuse because he’s not a ‘snitch’ and he’s not ‘God,'”
It was unclear who restrained the two toddlers with a dog leash and chain. But the felony charges against Reed relate to incidents in February 2016 and November 2015 during which, according to Dorch, she whipped the toddlers with a switch.
Police were investigating the nature of Reed’s relationship with Philips and her husband Dorch. However, it was believed that Reed was under threat for money and that the couple may have forced her to leave her children with them.
Evidence of the extent of the abuse the children suffered shocked even experienced investigators, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
The 4-year-old boy was found restrained to the ground outside the house with a dog chain around his ankle. Police officers found him trying to relieve himself with his pants down. Nearby was a pile of human feces.
His 3-year-old sister was found a few feet away, tied with a dog leash to a garage door. Her wrists were also tied above her head.
Doctors who examined the children said they found multiple injuries and scars all over their bodies, including the legs, backs, wrists and ankles. Some of the injuries were fresh and others old. The pattern of the injuries indicated that the abuse had taken place over several months, James Keith, spokesperson for Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, told MySanAntonio.com.
The girl’s right arm was broken in two places and she was suffering from hypothermia, dehydration, and hunger.
The interior of the house, according to police, was very sparsely furnished and reeked with the stench of human waste. Pregnant Poruchia Philips, mother of the six children, was arrested and charged when she returned home in the night.
Both children have been treated and released from a hospital.
Poruchia’s court-appointed defense lawyer Alan Futrell, told San Antonio Express-News, that he was unable to comment about the case because he was still trying to piece together what actually happened.
According to Bexar County Sheriff’s Office spokesman James Keith, “Child abuse is a major problem here, and in this case we’re just glad we were able to find these children before any further harm could occur to them.”
The latest case comes amid increased focus on child abuse cases in Texas. Independent investigators recently alleged serious lapses in the system that prevents child abuse investigators from identifying cases promptly and dealing with them.
[Image via Bexar County Sheriff’s Office/MySanAntonio]