Police in Texas discovered two toddlers tethered to posts in the backyard of a Bexar County home, where six other unattended children were housed.
Neighbors called police on the evening of April 28 after hearing a pair of toddlers crying in a backyard of a San Antonio home for “a long period of time.”
Upon arrival, Bexar County police discovered one toddler chained to the ground and another tied to a door with a dog leash. There were no adults nearby.
The toddlers, one a two-year-old boy and the other a three-year-old girl, were suffering from exposure, and the girl had a fractured arm.
Inside the home, officers discovered six more children ranging in ages from 10 months to 13 years. All had been left in the home unsupervised.
During the investigation, police learned that the six children inside the home belonged to Porucha Phillips, 34. Phillips, who is pregnant, was arrested for leaving her children unattended.
“It’s sickening,” County Sheriff’s Office spokesman James Keith said. “To call this horrific would be an understatement. If it wasn’t for our deputies and this caller who tipped us off, we know that this could have had an even worse outcome.”
Officer Keith noted the boy was “chained to the ground as if he was a dog.”
— KSAT 12 (@ksatnews) April 29, 2016
“There was no slack in the chain. His pants were down. You could tell he’d been here for a while. And then a short distance away, a 3-year-old girl who was tied to a door with a dog leash who was just exhausted,” Keith added.
It was determined the pair of toddlers left in the backyard, however, were not Phillips’ children. Not long after investigators arrived, the parents of the toddlers appeared at the home. Both were immediately arrested.
Phillips was charged with child abandonment and injury of children. Other charges are likely as the investigation continues.
Police think Phillips was to have been caring for the toddlers tethered in the backyard, but the suspect insisted the children’s parents had abandoned them at her home. Phillips said she intended to leave the toddlers at a local fire station because she could not care for them.
Neighbors told officials Phillips’ children were rarely seen outside, and when they were, they were running around in diapers and no clothing.
The toddlers were taken to the hospital, and child services took the other six into custody.
Phillips is in jail pending a $150,000 bond.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.