NEWARK, N.J. – A 7-year-old boy's remains were found in a plastic storage bin Sunday, a day after his two brothers were found alive but starving in a locked room of the same house, authorities said.
Faheem Williams had been dead for weeks, Edward Gordon of the Essex County Prosecutor's Office told The Star-Ledger of Newark. An autopsy was scheduled to be performed Monday.
The child's twin brother, Raheem, and another brother, Tyrone, 4, were being treated for starvation and dehydration at University Hospital in Newark.
The children remained in fair condition Monday, said hospital spokesman Rogers Ramsey. He could not give details, citing patient confidentiality.
Several months ago, the children's mother left them in the care of Sherry Murphy, authorities said. Police were searching for her Monday.
Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura said authorities were also seeking information on the whereabouts of two or three other children connected to Murphy, although he wasn't sure of their relationship to her.
Essex County authorities declined to discuss further details about the case until a news conference scheduled for 11:30 a.m.
Neighbors said Murphy kept to herself and was not well known in the working-class neighborhood of two- and three-story multifamily dwellings, just two blocks from Branch Brook Park.
Yellow police tape blocked the sidewalk in front of the house on Monday. A police car and two officers kept reporters from approaching the door of the two-story row house with white aluminum siding and light green trim. A hallway light was on, but it was not known if anyone was inside.
A next door neighbor, Debra Barnes, 44, said she had never exchanged a greeting with Murphy since moving in two months ago and never saw the three boys. Barnes, however, said she saw a 12- or 13-year-old girl about two weeks ago who referred to Murphy as "mom."
"That's the only child I've seen with her. I've never seen her with a 2-year-old or 4-year-old or anything like that. I never saw those kids," Barnes said.
Barnes said Murphy looked well-kept, but was not friendly and typically seemed angry.
"It looked like she had a damned problem, like she had an attitude. Didn't have a smile," Barnes said.
On Sunday morning, police towed the white Dodge Neon driven by Murphy, Barnes said.
Murphy's boyfriend found the surviving children Saturday while he was looking for work boots in the basement. Shawn Slappy, 31, told police that the children were in a locked room, Gordon said.
Slappy had been living in the house for two weeks and knew nothing about the children, Gordon said.
On Sunday, Raheem Williams told investigators at the hospital that he had another brother who had been missing for weeks. Police found Faheem's body in another basement room later that day, Gordon said.
Authorities believed the boys' mother was in a New York City hospital after being hit by a car, he said.