The plight of children born to parents unable to provide proper care, whether for emotional or financial reasons, is a story as old as time.

Despite attempts by the government and law enforcement to deliver ideal solutions and propose preventive measures, child abandonment is rife in the United States.

While the term “child abandonment” is often used to describe only physical abandonment, it encompasses emotional abandonment, neglect, and abuse.

It includes cases where parents fail to provide the necessary care for their child over an extended period; in many cases, a parent has no regard for the child’s safety, physical health, emotional health, and welfare. 

A recent example of such a case happened in Harris County, Texas, in October 2021, when authorities found three neglected children living in an apartment complex with a deceased body of a male child.

The police found skeletal remains of the sibling when they entered the apartment; he died a year before the discovery, and the body was left there to decompose. The medical examiner found evidence of multiple blunt force injuries.

10 /10 911 Call

On Sunday, October 24, 2021, at around 3 pm, a teenager made a phone call from a third-floor apartment unit in the Houston area.

Officers from the Harris County Sheriff’s Department responded to the ring, visited the apartment, and found a horrifying scene inside.

Three young kids aged 15, 10, and 7 were in bad condition, seemingly abandoned by their parents. The most shocking discovery was the skeletal remains of another sibling, who died a year earlier at age 8.


9 /10 Pitch-Black Apartment

According to Sgt. Dennis Wolfford, the officer leading the investigation into the case, the teenager, did his best to take care of all his younger siblings.

The teenager described in the phone call that the body of his deceased sibling was in the next room. When the police arrived at the scene, the apartment unit was pitch-black as it did not have electricity.

Flashlights scared away the roaches running across the floor. Officers believed the teenager reached the point where he physically and mentally couldn’t cope with his circumstances anymore.

8 /10 Scattered Pills And Alcohol

The parents were soon identified as Gloria Williams and her boyfriend, Brian Coulter. The apartment unit was an unsanitary environment – to put it mildly – for anybody, let alone children, to live in and grow up.

The kids had to wash dishes in the bathtub. Pills and alcohol were found scattered on the floor, but Sgt. Wolfford didn’t think they were forced to consume it.

Williams and Coulter had groceries delivered to the apartment every few weeks, but no adults lived in the unit.

7 /10 Beaten To Death

The deceased body was identified as Kendrick Lee, who died in November 2020. Investigators found a series of social media posts under Williams’ account.

On an Instagram post dated February 2021, she was seen listening to music and cooking steak in the apartment. Authorities confirmed that the apartment shown in the center was the same unit where they found Lee’s body.

According to the brothers, Coulter beat the 8-year-old boy to death, and his lifeless body was left to decompose in the back bedroom.

6 /10 Filthy Apartment

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the apartment was in appalling condition. It had no furniture, no bedding, and no blankets. Flies and roaches were all over the place, and the only piece of furnishing in the area was a filthy carpet.

The 15-year-old boy said the parents had not lived in the apartment for months. It did not seem like the parents had put even the slightest effort into concealing Lees’ body. All the remaining three kids had to stay there as the body decomposed.

5 /10 Abandoned

The 10-year-old boy suffered from a jaw injury so severe that he would require facial reconstruction surgery.

Authorities believed that Coulter also was the one responsible for it. The boy never had any medical attention while in the apartment or took medication to relieve the pain.

Williams and Coulter moved out from the condo on Green Crest, leaving three kids and a dead boy behind with barely any food, to another fully furnished unit just a few minutes away. Both were located Sunday and taken into custody.

4 /10 Malnourished And Injured

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the 15-year-old teenager was immediately put in a position to act as a single caregiver as soon as the parents moved out.

Despite his best attempt, his two younger siblings suffered from physical injuries and were malnourished. Authorities arranged for the boys to be put in the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services emergency custody.

All three were taken to a hospital for medical treatments. The sheriff’s office tasked both the child abuse unit and homicide unit to work together on the case.

3 /10 Possible Charges

The person responsible for the case could face a series of charges ranging from negligent homicide to capital murder. Harris County District Attorney’s Office could also include a child abandonment charge.

During the early phase of the investigation, the parents were taken into custody for questioning and released afterward. The police made a formal arrest in late October 2021.

Gloria Williams was charged with injury to a child by omission, failing to provide adequate supervision, medical care, and tampering with evidence. Brian Coulter was accused of murder.

2 /10 Victims And Witnesses

The case could get complicated because the kids found in the apartment were not only victims but also witnesses. They presumably were aware of the situation and witnessed every crime committed on the premises.

Another tragedy was that no other sensible adults, whether neighbors or known relatives intervened and acted sooner, considering it happened in an apartment complex full of people.

Some neighbors said they noticed a foul odor from the apartment, but they refused to consider the possibility that someone had died inside.

1 /10 Capital Murder

Harris County Assistant District Attorney Andrea Beall announced on January 18, 2022, that Brian Coulter had been indicted for capital murder.

Gloria Williams faced charges of injury to a child, tampering with a human corpse, and serious bodily injury.

Williams reportedly knew that Kendrick Lee had died in November 2020, but she did not report the incident to authorities because her boyfriend told her not to.

At the time of the incident, there was no CPS (Child Protective Services) investigation into allegations of neglect or abuse. A state judge set a $900,000 bond for Williams and $1 million for Coulter. 

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