A mother and her partner locked her three children in a room with their dead brother's body and left them to starve for several months, it has been claimed.
Gloria Williams, 35, reportedly left her children to fend for themselves in their Texas home – which has since been dubbed the 'Houston house of horrors'.
Her boyfriend Brian Coulter, 31, is charged with the murder of her eight-year-old Kendrick Lee while she has been charged with injury to a child and tampering with evidence.
It has been reported that the decomposed body was discovered inside an apartment together with the three other children who were reported to be malnourished, reports The Mirror.
Court officials appointed a defence lawyer to represent Williams in the case, the district attorney's office said.
According to reports Kendrick's body was left to rot under a blanket in full view of his brothers for nearly a year while Williams and Coulter moved into another apartment.
After they left in March, prosecutors claim Williams would deliver groceries to the children each month and paid the rent in order to hide the boy’s remains, ABC reports .
Asked why she had left her sons Williams said: "I checked on them every two weeks."
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The children were rescued by officers on Sunday, after Williams' 15-year-old son called the police.
They have all been described as underfed after being forced to live on snacks given by their mum as well as food donations from neighbours.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said in a news conference: "I had never heard of a scenario like this. It really caught me by surprise.
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"It seems that they were in there while the body was deteriorating," he said.
"It appears the remains had been there for an extended period of time, and I emphasize extended.
"It appears that they were basically fending for each other," he said, adding that the children were living in "pretty deplorable conditions."
The cause of the child's death is said to be under investigation.
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