A 53-year-old grandmother and her 64-year-old boyfriend were charged with felony charges of endangering a child after a 6-year-old boy was found tied up in a locked shed in Texas, according to reports.
Esmeralda Lira, who is the boy's grandmother, and her boyfriend, Jose Balderas, are being held on a $100,000 bond.
Balderas said the boy was put in the shed for two weeks because he was stealing food.
Cops found the boy behind a home in Dallas around 11:30 p.m. on Sunday.
A police affidavit said the boy was found in the pitch-black shed with his hands tied with shoelaces behind his back.
The boy told cops Lira gave him a plastic bag to urinate and bathed him outside by spraying him with water.
The boy, his 7-year-old sister and 4-year-old brother are now in foster care.
“The three children have been placed in foster care. They're doing well,” Marissa Gonzalez with the Department of Family and Protective Services said. “Of course, the 6-year-old will receive any medical attention he might need.”
Authorities said the boy was out of school because of the coronavirus pandemic and had been allegedly tortured during quarantine.
Child advocates said the pandemic and quarantine are causing reports of child abuse to go down.
“Our concern has always been children being with their abusers all the time and having no safe adult to confide in or a safe adult that can report that abuse,” Sarah Burns of the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center said.
Lynn Davis, CEO of the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, added Texas is seeing a 50 percent drop in cases.
“It's a problem. It's going to be a problem for when these kids get back to school. I think our numbers are going to skyrocket,” Davis said. “Now, the cases that we are seeing, we're seeing some more severe physical abuse cases, which we would expect during these high-stress times.”