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Mother, boyfriend arrested after child's skeletal remains found in Texas apartment

The mother of the 8-year-old who had been dead for a year, and her boyfriend, were charged days after the discovery near Houston Sunday.

A Texas mother and her boyfriend were charged Tuesday in the death of an 8-year-old child whose skeletal remains were found Sunday in an apartment near Houston, the Harris County sheriff said.

Earlier Tuesday, officials said the death of the child, whose remains were found in the apartment where three other children were staying, was a homicide.

Brian Coulter, 31, faces a murder charge and the boy's mother, Gloria Williams, 35, faces charges of injury to a child by omission and tampering with evidence, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted in an update.

More details were not immediately available.

Coulter and Williams were in custody, the sheriff said. It was not immediately clear if they had an attorney. The sheriff said more charges are expected to be filed.

The child died from homicidal violence with multiple blunt-force injuries, according to the county's medical examiner's office, the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences. A spokeswoman with the office said Tuesday afternoon medical personnel had not positively identified the remains.

The discovery on Green Crest Drive in western Harris County was made Sunday afternoon after a 15-year-old boy called the sheriff's office and said his 9-year-old brother had been dead in the apartment for a year, the sheriff's office said.

When deputies arrived, they found the "remains of a small child" and two other boys in the house ages 10 and 7, the sheriff’s office said.

Gonzalez said that the child who died was 8 years old at the time of his death in 2020.

The teen told the sheriff's office that the parents had not lived in the apartment for "several months," according to agency.

The boys appeared malnourished, showed signs of physical injury and were brought to a hospital, according to officials.

Thomas Gilliland, a spokesman with the Harris County Sheriff's Office, said the circumstances surrounding the case, and why the three boys had been living on their own “at least since February,” remain under investigation.

“They lived in these apartments and the rent was paid,” Gilliland said. “How it happened. What motive was behind them living separate from their children … that is part of the investigation.”

Gonzalez has called the situation “heartbreaking."

Melissa Lanford, a spokeswoman with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said in a statement Tuesday that the department "sought and received emergency custody" of the three boys found abandoned in the apartment.

“Child Protective Services does have history with the family, but there was no active CPS investigation at the time the children were discovered alone in their apartment," Lanford said.

NBC affiliate KPRC in Houston reported neighbors had smelled a foul odor coming from the third-floor apartment where the children lived.

"This is very shocking for me. Very shocking and sad — very sad," neighbor Kayla Williams told KPRC. "My thing is where is the parents? And why would you leave your children?"

KPRC also reported Gonzalez said the children were getting food and the apartment's rent was being paid for. But who was providing for the children with rent and food was unknown.

"At plain view it appears they are living in pretty deplorable conditions," Gonzalez said. "It appears they were caring, basically, fending for each other."