HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – The grandmother of one of the children of Gloria Williams, the mother whose 8-year-old son’s skeletal remains were found in a west Harris County apartment Sunday, spoke exclusively to KPRC 2 in an effort to help shed light on why family members were not aware of what was happening.
The unspeakable acts which took place behind the door of apartment 531 at 3535 Green Crest Drive will likely forever, not only leave the children scarred, but also the investigators left with the task of uncovering the gruesome details.
Williams, 35, has been charged with injury to a child by omission and tampering with evidence (corpse).
Her boyfriend, Brian W. Coulter, 31, has been charged with murder. Investigators say he beat the boy to death in front of his siblings.
Afterward, Williams and Coulter allegedly left the surviving children in the apartment to live with their brother’s corpse for nearly a year. The children were malnourished by the time they were discovered.
Melody Robinson says her granddaughter was spared the abuse and torture her siblings endured because she has not lived with her mother, Williams, since she was a toddler.
Robinson explained that Williams is the mother of six children. She has two daughters - ages 17 and 13 - and four sons. Three of the boys are 15, 10 and 7, and the fourth boy was only 8 years old when he died.
According to Robinson, Williams has not had a good track record with the men in her life.
Robinson met Williams in 2005 when she was dating her son. At the time, Williams only had the two oldest children, who both had different fathers.
The young mother and her children moved in with the Robinson family for a short while until the couple broke up. Robinson says Williams was a “nice enough” woman, but there were areas where she needed improvement.
“She was never a fit mom to me,” Robinson said. “I would always get on her to keep the house clean and keep (the) kids clean. She was unstable and easily manipulated.”
After Williams and Robinson’s son broke up, they did not hear from her until Williams’ mother, Hazel Williams, reached out and informed them that Williams had given birth to a daughter. Robinson says she stepped in and brought her granddaughter to live with her when she was only two weeks old.
But having no legal custody of the baby, Williams was able to take her back.
After that, Robinson says Williams rekindled a relationship with her oldest son’s father, who lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and moved in with him.
When she became pregnant with her fourth child, she reached out to Robinson and asked if she could take custody of her granddaughter, who was then 2 years old. Robinson did not hesitate and, this time, never allowed the child to return to her mother. She did, however, invite Williams and the other children to come for visits and participate in family functions - like birthday parties - but she says Williams did not always keep in touch.
Williams went on to have two more children after that.
Williams then married another man, with whom she had no children, according to Robinson. That husband passed away and it was about that time that Wiilliams met Coulter - who Robinson says is the man who would change their lives forever.
According to Robinson, Williams’ oldest daughter lived in the home with her four little brothers at first. Robinson says that the oldest daughter told her she witnessed Coulter abusing the boys and stood up against him. Williams did not approve and told her she needed to leave. The girl was only 15 years old at the time and Robinson says she was forced to live on the streets for over a year. When the girl ended up at the hospital, Children’s Protective Services contacted Robinson. Although Robinson was not the teen’s grandmother, she formed a bond with her as a young child and brought her to live with her sister.
The sisters would speak to their brothers as often as possible on Facetime, Robinson said. It was difficult though, because she says Williams did not always allow them to have contact. Robinson said the 15-year-old would often speak to his sisters from a dark room, and even though they’ve spoken this year, he never mentioned that their little brother was dead.
Investigators said the boys were living in complete fear.
Robinson explained that it appears as if the children did not have many others to turn to. The oldest daughter’s dad died a few years ago, the 8-year-old’s father is also deceased and Williams’ mother suffered a stroke in August and has no idea any of this is happening.
When asked why no other family members stepped in to help, Robinson said Williams often pushed them away and only came around when she needed something.
“This has taken them aback. They have offered so many times to take the kids and give Williams a break but she declined,” Robinson said. “In a case like this, she (was) sheltered away from everybody and hid what was going on. If someone pulls away from family, there is nothing you can do. You can’t force yourself to be a family.”
It’s been four years since Robinson saw all of the Williams children together.
“My heart goes out to that baby,” she said of the deceased child. “The last time I saw all of them, she (Williams) brought them to my granddaughter’s 9th birthday party.”
Chris Downey, of the Downey Law Firm, told KPRC 2 we all need to be more vigilant.
“This was happening in an apartment complex where there were neighbors all around,” Downey said. “In the nature of the modern world, perhaps, we don’t spend as much time or come into contact with each other as much as we should but it’s a wake-up call to all of us to pay attention.”