A mother of six was arrested Friday after two toddlers were found chained and tied in the backyard of a Texas home late Thursday, authorities said.
Deputies went to the home at around 11:45 p.m. after a neighbor reported hearing a crying child, and found the toddlers tied up, one with a chain to the ground and another tied to a door with a dog leash, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
"To describe this as disturbing is an understatement," sheriff’s office spokesman James Keith told NBC affiliate WOAI. “This is a sick, disturbing, horrific crime.”
The toddlers, 2 and 3 years old, were freed, and six other children, from 10 months old to 13 years old, were found in the home with no adults around, the sheriff’s office said.
Porucha Phillips, 34, the mother of the six children inside the home, was taken into custody as she and another person came home Friday morning, the sheriff’s office said.
Authorities said Phillips was responsible for caring for the the two toddlers found outside, and she faces two charges of injury to a child by omission with serious bodily injury. She's being held on $150,000 bond, according to Bexar County records.
WOAI reported that Phillips has claimed the two toddlers were left there by their parents, who had not been located as of Friday night, and she reportedly told deputies she planned to take the kids to authorities because she couldn't care for them. She reportedly denied restraining either child.
The two children who were found outside remained hospitalized Friday, and the six other children are in the care of Texas Child Protective Services, according to the agency.
"There are concerns they may be malnourished," said a Child Protective Services statement.
One of the children being treated in the hospital is suffering from a fractured wrist and arm, while the other has abrasions and scarring, the statement said.
The protective services agency said it had no records of past involvement with the family.
"Anytime when you have a situation where you see a helpless person or a child abused or hurt its tough and it takes a toll on everybody," Keith said. "There were very few dry eyes after this situation."