2 charged after 7 special needs children found in 'deplorable' living conditions
FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas – Two people are facing serious charges after Fort Bend County officials discovered seven special-needs children living in concerning conditions at a Richmond-area house.
“I cannot think of a more deplorable situation than what we have learned in this case,” said Sheriff Troy E. Nehls. “These people are taking advantage of a lousy situation at the expense of children who cannot fend for themselves. It is absolutely heartbreaking.”
Police said the seven children were adopted by Paula Sinclair, 54, and her husband, who does not live at the house and is not facing charges at this time. Allen Richardson, 78, also lived at the house and is facing charges.
The children, ages 13-16, were malnourished, locked in a room and struck with a wooden paddle, causing bodily injury, police said.
The children were transferred to the Fort Bend County Children’s Advocacy Center in Rosenberg to be interviewed before being taken to a Houston hospital for treatment.
All seven children would stay in one room at the house, detectives said.
When Sinclair needed to take Richardson to see the doctor, the children would be kept in a closet roughly five feet by eight feet in size. The closet already had clothes and boxes inside, so space was even smaller, and often, the adults were gone so long that the children would urinate on themselves, according to police.
Another room smelled of urine and feces and the children wore shabby clothes, police said. One of the children suffers from Down Syndrome and was wearing a dirty diaper when he was removed from the home, according to reports.
When interviewed, it was determined that none of the children had ever attended school, police said.
The home also operated as a group home, three disabled adults lived there in addition to the kids.
One resident told KPRC the adults lived on the first floor and the kids were kept in an upstairs bedroom.
They were not allowed to interact and he described the home as a “prison.”
“I have never been upstairs,” David Willard said. “I have never been upstairs in five months. Of course, I was told not to speak to anybody here.”
Willard said the kids were fed beans and rice three times a day and were forced to eat in their rooms.
“They’d go to the bottom of the stairs, the kids would wait and Coach would bring them a tray with beans and rice, three times a day. That’s how they were fed,” Willard said.
Some Neighbors who have lived in the neighborhood for more than a decade were stunned to learn kids were living in the house.
One woman told KPRC off camera she knew the family personally and had no idea they had children.
“I’ve never seen a kid living in that house or going to school or anything of that sort,” said Leena Mir.
Sinclair and Richardson are each facing aggravated kidnapping and injury to a child, both felonies.
They remain in the Fort Bend County Jail.
CPS released the following statement:
"Seven children, (five boys and two girls from age 13 to 16), were removed by Child Protective Services (CPS) from a home in Richmond on Wednesday, November 23, following a report to CPS that alleged possible physical abuse. The report was received Tuesday afternoon, November 22, and a caseworker responded immediately.
"The children, who were all adopted, are receiving complete physical examinations and will be placed in foster care. The affidavit to support the removal of the children was filed Wednesday, November 23 in Fort Bend County's 505th State District Court and CPS was granted temporary custody by Judge Cindy Aguirre. A hearing on the removal has been set for December 6 at 9:30 a.m in that courtroom on the first floor.
"CPS is continuing a joint investigation with the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Department."