DALLAS, Texas — A six-year-old child discovered locked in a shed behind a Dallas home late Sunday night had been there for "an extended period of time with no food or water" and had been bound with shoe laces, states an arrest warrant affidavit filed in the case.
The child’s grandmother, 53-year-old Esmerelda Lira, and her boyfriend, 66-year-old Jose Balderas, were arrested and charged with abandoning or endangering a child. They are being held at the Dallas County Jail on $100,000 bonds and federal immigration holds.
Sunday night, the Dallas Police Department responded to the residence, located in the 1100 block of Coston Drive, on a health and welfare concern for three children. Police officers initially located two of the children, a 7-year-old sister and 4-year-old brother to the victim, sleeping in a front bedroom.
In attempts to locate the third child, police went into the backyard and spoke with an individual living in a trailer behind the residence who directed police to a locked shed. Police officers knocked on the shed and received a knock back and heard a voice inside, according to the affidavit.
Police officers discovered the boy "standing alone in the pitch-black shed in a blue storage bin," states the affidavit. His hands were bound behind his back with shoelaces.
According to the affidavit, after officers carried the boy to safety and removed the shoelaces, there were ligature marks on his wrists.
In a forensic interviewer at the Dallas Children's Advocacy Center, the child reported to have been regularly locked in the shed at night and while Lira was away from the residence. He told investigators he was kicked, grabbed by the ears, given a plastic bag when he need to use the bathroom.
Police officers reported rats and insects inside the shed and items from the floor to the ceiling, states the affidavit.
Balderas, who was aware the boy was locked in the shed, said he did not want to be a "part of the situation" — telling police the child had been locked in the shed for at least two weeks.
All three children were removed from the home and placed in foster care, according to Child Protective Services.