Authorities confirmed on Wednesday that the child whose skeletal remains were found in a Houston-area apartment Sunday along with three abandoned siblings died violently due to blunt force sometime around Thanksgiving last year. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said that the boy was 8 years old when he was killed via physical abuse allegedly by his mother’s boyfriend Brian Coulter, who has been charged with murder.

During a news conference Wednesday, Gonzalez said the apartment where the boy’s skeletal remains were found and where three siblings, ranging in ages from 7 to 15, lived was unfurnished and full of roaches, flies and soiled carpeting. The oldest boy contacted authorities, and Gonzalez said: “In the midst of the darkness and this horrific situation, I’m so glad that this 15-year-old finally reached out for help. I’m glad that he found assistance at the end of the other line with one of our call-takers. And I’m comforted to know that when he opened the door, and there was a Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputy there, that they could finally receive the care and protection that they needed for so long.”

The Sheriff’s office said that the dead boy’s mother and her boyfriend were charged Tuesday in the child’s death. 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.  Williams and Coulter moved out of the apartment and lived separately from the children, at least two of whom were believed to be on the autism spectrum and were described as “special needs,” officials said Wednesday. The boys appeared malnourished, showed signs of physical injury and were brought to a hospital, according to officials.

A judge granted the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services temporary custody of the three children. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said in a statement that the department “sought and received emergency custody” of the three boys found abandoned in the apartment and said that the children are safe in CPS custody.

Editorial credit: Patrish Jackson /

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