Houston, TX – The woman accused of abandoning her three sons and leaving them in an apartment with the decaying body of their eight-year-old brother for a year was arrested along with her boyfriend on Tuesday night.
Gloria Williams, 35, and her boyfriend, Brian Coulter, 31, were arrested at a Houston public library on Oct. 26, KTRK reported.
Investigators said the couple was searching news articles about themselves when police arrived.
Coulter has since been charged with murder.
His bond was set at $1 million on Wednesday, KPRC reported.
Williams has been charged with tampering with evidence – a human corpse – as well as injury to a child by omission, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told KTRK.
Her bond was set at just $25,000 on Wednesday, KPRC reported.
Additional charges may be forthcoming, according to Sheriff Gonzalez.
Williams and Coulter were previously taken in for questioning late Sunday night, but were both released by 10 a.m. on Monday pending the outcome of an autopsy of the skeletal remains found inside the apartment where Williams’ other three children were living alone, KTRK reported.
Prior to the couple’s arrest on Tuesday, the medical examiner concluded the remains belonging to Williams’ son, who was eight years old when he was killed sometime last year, showed the little boy’s manner of death was homicide caused by multiple blunt-force trauma injuries, according to KTRK.
Investigators said they believe Coulter beat the child to death and that he and Williams subsequently moved out, leaving her three sons, ages 15, 10, and seven, alone with their brother’s decomposing body for months, KTRK reported.
At least one of the children has special needs, according to KPRC.
The gruesome scene was discovered after the 15-year-old boy called 911 on Sunday to report his parents had taken off several months earlier, leaving him and his siblings living with the dead body of their young brother, KABC reported.
The teen said the little boy had been deceased inside the apartment for about a year.
Harris County deputies responded to the apartment complex, which is located in the 3535-block of Green Crest near Westpark Tollway and Addicks Clodine, and located the three children, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted that afternoon.
“Skeletal remains, possibly of another juvenile, were also found inside the unit,” Sheriff Gonzalez confirmed.
Deputies said the surviving children appeared to be malnourished and had physical injuries, according to WLS.
They were all transported to a hospital for treatment, KABC reported.
Doctors determined the seven-year-old boy had facial fractures, according to KTRK.
Sheriff Gonzalez described the conditions inside the apartment as “horrific” and said the children had been abandoned for quite a while, KTRK reported.
“I have been in this business a long time, and never saw anything like this,” the sheriff said.
Investigators said the remains of the deceased child were not concealed and were lying out in the open, KABC reported.
“It appears the skeletal remains had been there for an extended period of time, and I emphasize ‘extended’” Sheriff Gonzalez said, according to WLS. “Connecting all the dots, it seems they were in there while the body was deteriorating.”
A next-door neighbor who moved into the complex approximately 18 months ago said a foul odor started wafting over from the apartment where the children were found about four or five months after she moved in, KABC reported.
She claimed the smell was so horrendous, she ended up turning off her air conditioner to try to stop the odor from infiltrating her home.
The woman said she complained to the front office about the smell multiple times and noted she believed the apartment was abandoned.
Another neighbor said she had been giving the 15-year-old food for about the past six months, KTRK reported.
She said the children’s mother would sometimes show up outside in a vehicle with food.
“She would come and park, and he would run down and grab noodles, drinks and chips and run back up,” the neighbor said.
The children did not have any electricity in the apartment for at least the past couple of weeks, according to The Washington Post.
The three surviving children are now in the custody of the Department of Family and Protective Services (CPS).
“Child Protective Services does have history with the family, but there was no active CPS investigation at the time the children were discovered alone in their apartment,” CPS said in a press release.
According to the local school district, the children were last enrolled in May of 2020, according to the news outlet.
Neighbors said personnel at the complex had been conducting inspections over the past month, but site managers refused to answer KTRK’s questions about when the apartment the children were found living in was last inspected.
“My prayer is that the remaining children find the love, the support and the protection that they so desperately needed and deserved and that they have been missing for so long and I hope that their future is better than their past,” Sheriff Gonzalez told KPRC.