Houston, TX – A 4-year-old boy who tested positive for methamphetamine and told police that the rats and roaches who lived with him in a locked closet were “his friends,” was placed into the custody of Child Protective Services (CPS), KTRK reported.
Deputies with the Harris County Precinct 5 Constable’s Office discovered the boy on Dec. 20, 2017, when they arrived at a residence to serve a search warrant related to methamphetamine production and distribution.
The filthy home smelled “horrible,” and was littered with rat feces and drug paraphernalia, the Constable’s office said in a Facebook video of the scene.
A “substantial amount” of methamphetamine and marijuana were also located, according to the video.
Investigators found the child locked in a closet, and said they do not know how long he had been inside the residence.
They also discovered “drug and sex paraphernalia” just outside the area where the boy slept.
“He can articulate some things that are really shocking and surprising that tell us he was in there for quite a length of time,” the little boy’s attorney ad litem, Rachel Leal-Hudson, told KTRK.
He told investigators that he was “not allowed out of [the closet] for hours at a time,” and said that the “rats and roaches” that came into the closet were “his friends,” KTRK reported.
The young boy also recounted having been forced to sit on top of a refrigerator as punishment when he snuck out of the closet, and said that he feared he would fall off if he fell asleep.
"The detail on this case is very awful," Leal-Hudson told KTRK. "This is a 4-year-old child who has seen things an adult should not have seen."
The little boy’s mother, April Burrier, was not at the rented home during the raid, but was arrested on two outstanding warrants when she returned home, KTRK reported.
One of the warrants stemmed from a drug possession charge.
Burrier claimed that she had left her child in the care of someone else, but investigators said she was too high, or otherwise intoxicated, to tell them who the supposed caregiver was, KTRK reported.
Burrier will also be charged for endangering a child, investigators said in the Facebook video.
The boy’s father, Robert Dehart, said he left his son with Burrier just after Thanksgiving, KTRK reported.
Dehart has his own history of drug-related convictions and CPS involvement, but was trying to regain custody of his son.
The court granted temporary custody of the little boy to CPS and will reconvene in February, KTRK reported.
Investigators continued to search for Daniel Morris III, who was cooking and selling meth from the home, the Constable’s office said on Tuesday.