‘Imagine what the kids went through,' a disturbing thought for many when they hear about this tragedy.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office says the children all boys ages 15, 10, and seven were all malnourished and had physical injuries.
The 15-year-old also informed deputies his young brother, who was nine years old, had passed away almost a year ago and his body was still in the apartment.
"It’s trauma that’s hard to heal from, living with a dead brother for over a year," said Dr. Bob Sanborn with the non-profit Children at Risk.
Dr. Sandborn tells FOX 26, these children now have a very long road of recovery ahead of them.
"These kids are going to be traumatized and it’s going to take a lot of mental health help, for a long time to get these kids back to where we would want any child to be," said Sanborn.
He says some of the safety nets that help prevent some at-risk children from falling through cracks, like schools, are not really there in the capacity that they use to be.
Dr. Sanborn says, because of the pandemic, enrollment numbers have been down and missing children is not uncommon.
Alief ISD confirmed with FOX 26, the kids have not been enrolled since May of 2020.
"In Texas, the first line of defense has always been teachers after our parents and family," said Sanborn. "These kids fell through the cracks in terms of identifying the problem," said Dr. Sanborn.