A neighbour was reportedly helping three children found abandoned in an apartment with the skeletal remains of their brother.
The three kids, aged seven, 10 and 15, were rescued from the apartment in Houston, Texas, at around 4.30pm on Sunday.
Responding to a call from the 15-year-old, police found the kids fending for themselves in squalid conditions alongside the dead body. Police said they were not locked up, rather abandoned by their parents.
Now it has been revealed that an unnamed neighbour was helping the kids at the apartment.
A spokesperson for Harris county’s sheriff department told The Daily Beast on Monday that the neighbour had been bringing them food and charging their phones after power to the home was cut off.
The 15-year-old explained to police on Sunday that they had been left by their parents and that his nine-year-old brother had died.
Residents have now raised concerns about how they were not discovered sooner, with some telling The Daily Beast that maintenance workers had been visiting the apartment regularly.
Others said that they didn't realise their mother had kids when she was seen in the area some time ago.
Authorities have now said that the kids had been surviving in deplorable conditions for almost a year. They were found with injuries and looking malnourished.
County sheriff Ed Gonzalez said in a tweet: "All three were transported to a hospital to be assessed and treated for their injuries. It is believed the parents have not lived in the unit for several months."
He added at a press conference on Sunday: "Very horrific situation here, very tragic. I've been in this business for a long time and I've never heard of a scenario like this, it really caught me by surprise.
"The older sibling was doing the best he could to take care of the others.
"Connecting all the dots, it seems they were in there while the body was deteriorating."
The mother and her boyfriend were found and taken into custody for questioning. They were later released but authorities haven't commented on the matter further.
Both police and child welfare authorities have launched probes into the incident.
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