FBCSO: 7 special needs children kept in horrific conditions – KHOU.com
RICHMOND, TEXAS – A Richmond couple has been charged with keeping seven special needs children locked up in a filthy bedroom of their home.
Paula Sinclair, 54, and Allen Richardson, 78, were arrested Saturday by Fort Bend County deputies. Both are charged with aggravated kidnapping and injury to a child.
The children, ages 13 to 16, are being treated for malnourishment, dehydration, bed bug bites and other issues. Investigators say they were fed only rice and beans twice a day since they were babies.
One of the children suffers from Down Syndrome and was wearing a dirty diaper when he was removed from the home.
KHOU 11 News has learned the children were rescued from the home in the Long Meadow Farm subdivision two days before Thanksgiving. All seven were found locked in a room on the second-story of the large home.
“Smelled of feces and urine. The carpet was being pulled up in some places exposing sharp metal tacks,” said Fort Bend County Detective Julie Johnson.
The children weren’t allowed to leave the house, had never been treated by doctors or allowed to go to school, according to Fort Bend County investigators.
If Sinclair left the home, the children were locked in a closet, roughly five feet by eight feet. The closet already had clothes and boxes inside, so space was even smaller, and quite often the adults were gone so long that the children would urinate on themselves, the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office said.
“They were told that if they came out of the room or out of the locked closet, they would be physically abused,” Detective Johnson said.
There was no doorknob so the children couldn’t get out. There was one twin bed and a dirty air mattress in the room. The window was boarded up.
“I cannot think of a more deplorable situation than what we have learned in this case,” said Sheriff Troy E. Nehls said in a written statement. “These people are taking advantage of a lousy situation at the expense of children who cannot fend for themselves. It is absolutely heartbreaking.”
Investigators tell us Sinclair adopted all of the children as infants in Harris County. She was getting paid by the state to “care for” the children.
“I didn’t see where any of the money would have reached the children with the conditions we found them living in,” Johnson said.
Two adults with disabilities were also living in the home. Richard Gonzalez and David Willard paid the couple rent and say they have no idea where they’ll go now.
“Nobody’s taken care of us. I’ve had heart surgery and Mr.Gonzales here is in a wheelchair. He’s very sick. He has a terminal illness,” Willard said.
They say they never saw the kids.
“The kids lived upstairs. They stayed upstairs seven days a week. They very seldom came downstairs,” Gonzalez said. “For what they’ve been through, they’re very upbeat children. The best part is they still can reach out and give you a hug.”
In 2007, Sinclair told a Houston newspaper she was inspired to care for special needs children while working as a nurse at a local hospital.
“I do what I do because it is a gift that God has given me,” Sinclair told the newspaper nine years ago. “Each second, a child is being abused somewhere, and I am here to help them have a life.”
Instead, Sinclair is now charged with abusing the children she promised to care for. Sinclair and Richardson remain in the Fort Bend County Jail on $100,000 bond each.
The victims are being treated at a Houston hospital.
(© 2016 KHOU)