How does a parent save a child, when that child is an adult making destructive choices? It's a challenge one Houston mother discussed with FOX26 after her son's recent high profile arrest.
Last week, Sidney St. Jules made headlines when he was arrested for allegedly punching a woman and evading Houston police. Dash cam video shows him darting through moving traffic from cops.
"He hasn't always been like this," said St. Jules' mother, who asked her identity not be fully revealed. "Three years ago he was in college, he was functioning properly."
Her son's recent arrest was initially reported as being a possible case of the knock-out game, in which a suspect attempts to strike down an unsuspecting victim in a single hit. Some reports suggested St. Jules' actions may have been a hate crime.
While she does not condone her son's actions and believes what he did was a crime, St. Jules' mother says, "it wasn't a hate crime. Sidney suffers from schizophrenia. It's been an ongoing situation for the last 2-3 years."
About three years ago is when St. Jules' mother says her son first tried the synthetic drug Kush. Since then, family says his actions and mental state have become unrecognizable.
"Tuesday night [Sidney] was here," recalled his mother. "He knocked on the door. He was saying 'mama people are talking to me' I said 'what people' and he said frogs and fish are communicating with him through the telecommunication line in the television."
The family recalled various recent episodes of St. Jules expressing similar incoherent, erratic behavior. They presented a bottle of prescription medication from Harris County with Sidney's name. The medication was one known for the treatment of schizophrenia.
Over the past several years, Sidney St. Jules has faced multiple arrests and convictions. His mother claims she tried to advocate in court for him to receive more aggressive mental health treatment, but "since he was over 21, there was nothing I could do because I didn't have any rights over him."
Instead, she and her family have had to watch her son continue to be a danger to himself and others.
Katz Boutique & Smoke Shops was recently fined $1.175 million in civil fines and penalties for selling synthetic drugs; the latest in a series of local crack downs. Yet, St. Jules' mother warns parents those drugs are still rampant on the streets of her Fifth Ward neighborhood. She says her son got in with a "bad crowd" who introduced him to the drug.
"We should be building up and fighting against the ones who are harming our children, who are bringing their poison into our community."
Family members say Sidney St. Jules has been living on the street, and shared several stories of him showing up at their home acting aggressive, and even violent.
"I know he needs help, and I've reached out to the different agencies to try to get him help. Even as far as going and getting mental health warrants issued for them to pick him up, and they'll come and get them maybe for a couple of days, and then they let them go. I'm begging and pleading with them that he needs more intensive help. Moreso ,I was scared for him, either that someone would hurt him or he'll hurt somebody."
As a mother, she says she feels helpless. Despite an interest in helping him, she has no control or influence over her son's medical or personal choices due to his age. She wants to see Harris County offer more comprehensive health treatment for those suffering like her son.
FOX26 reached out but have not yet heard back from Harris County regarding mental health services provided to St. Jules.