Authorities have arrested a woman and her boyfriend after finding a 6-year-old boy — believed to be the woman’s grandson — tied up and locked in a shed in the backyard of a southeast Dallas home.
Esmeralda Lira, 53, and Jose Balderas, 64, are facing felony charges of child endangerment.
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According to the Associated Press, the couple are being held on $100,000 bail.
The case came to light on Sunday when officers responded to a health and welfare check in the 1100 block of Coston Drive. A caller reported there were three children tied up and they had not been fed, according to arrest warrant affidavits obtained by WFAA.
Once inside, officers discovered two children asleep in a bedroom inside the house. After searching the house for the third child, the officers went outside and found a locked shed, according to the affidavits, the Dallas Morning News reports.
After getting a key from Lira, officers opened the door and found the boy “standing alone in the pitch-black shed in a blue storage bin with his hands tied behind his back with shoelaces,” the affidavits state, WFAA reports.
The boy allegedly told detectives that he was regularly forced to sleep in the shed when he was bad and was given a plastic bag when he had to go to the bathroom, according to the affidavits.
Balderas allegedly claimed that he knew about the abuse but didn’t want to be involved in it, the Morning News reports.
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He allegedly told police the boy had been confined to the shed for two weeks.
According to the affidavits, there were rats inside the shed.
The boy and his two siblings, a 7-year-old girl and a four-year-old boy, were taken from the home and placed in foster care, the AP reports. Balderas’ attorney could not be reached for comment.