Two toddlers are in the hospital Friday after they were found tied up with dog leashes in a backyard in San Antonio, Texas.
In total, eight children were rescued from the same home on Thursday night, ranging in age from 10 months to 13 years old. Sheriff’s deputies found one toddler chained to the ground and the other to a door, according to James Keith of the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.
Neighbors called police around 11:45 p.m. on Thursday after they heard crying in the backyard “for a long period of time.” When deputies looked inside, they found another six children. It’s unclear exactly how long the children were abandoned for.
The 3-year-old girl is in the intensive care unit with a broken arm, a fractured foot, bruises, and scratches, Keith said. The 2-year-old boy was also taken to the hospital for “a variety of issues,” Keith said, and he is listed in “serious condition.”
“I can tell you from the photos I’ve seen: the little boy was wearing a tight metal chain with zero slack that was wrapped around his ankle and then nailed to the ground,” he said, adding that some of the injuries appeared to be older than 24 hours.
“To describe this as horrific would be an understatement,” he continued. “This is extremely sad, disturbing and disgusting. We are committed to devoting every ounce of our energy to tracking down the people responsible for injuring these children and we will fight to make sure these children are never hurt like this again.”
Their mother, 34-year-old Porucha Phillips, was charged Friday with injury to a child by omission with serious bodily injury and injury to a child by omission with bodily injury. She was playing Bingo when the children were found, Keith said.
“It’s believed she was responsible for the care of the two children who were found tied up outside,” a statement from the sheriff’s office said.
Over several hours of questioning, Phillips allegedly said “that she doesn’t know how they were tied up,” Keith said. “She just said, ‘I don’t know they ended up like that.’”
Phillips and the father of the children returned to the home early on Friday morning and were immediately taken into custody and questioned by deputies. The father has not been charged, and Keith said that he was at work during the alleged abuse.
Authorities are still looking for the parents of the injured toddlers. All eight of the children are now in the custody of the Texas Department of Child Protective Services.
“The whole situation is just mind boggling,” Keith said. “It’s hard to even imagine what this woman was thinking or how someone can even put children in a situation like that.”