A seven-year-old Texas boy was found dead inside a washing machine in his home hours after his parents reported him missing, the Harris County sheriff’s office said.
Troy Khoeler, a foster child adopted by the couple in 2019, was discovered in the top-load machine in the garage of his house on Rosegate Drive in Harris County’s Birnam Wood subdivision on Thursday morning.
Police responded to a call about a missing child at about 5.20am. The parents told detectives they first noticed Troy was missing at around 4am.
Two hours later, the detectives found the boy inside the washing machine of the house after a thorough search of the neighbourhood and other areas.
The detectives have not revealed any information about the cause of the death of the boy or if any foul play is suspected.
“We don’t know what happened, but we intend to find out,” HCSO Lt Robert Minchew told reporters. “Whether he was killed by the washing machine or killed and placed in it, we’re just so far from that, I can’t comment,” Mr Minchew said.
He confirmed that Troy was clothed when they found him but did not give details, including if there was water inside the machine or if the lid was shut.
The boy’s father was at home at the time his mother returned from a night shift at a hospital and was still in uniform when police arrived.
Information about the boy being missing was first disclosed by Mark Herman, Harris County Constable Precinct 4 on Twitter.
“Now – missing 7 year old boy – 4400 block of Rosegate Dr Birnamwood Subdivision – Troy Khoeler. He was last seen wearing a blue shirt & pants, has a small afro hair style. He has been missing for approximately 2-3 hours,” his tweet said.
Police later confirmed the boy’s death and said an investigation was ongoing.
“A criminal investigation is underway please avoid the area. We ask for everyone’s prayers for the family,” the statement said.
The parents were taken in police patrol cars for questioning in the case. No arrests or charges have been made so far.
Rudy Chupa, a neighbour living in the area for more than 40 years, expressed shock at the boy’s death, who he sometimes used to see playing.
“It’s bad, I mean, I’ve got great-grandkids, I don’t know how they’re coping with it,” Mr Chupa told KHOU11. “It shouldn’t happen to anybody. Wow.”