Boy, 4, confined to closet reportedly calls rats, roaches his friends


Highlights

Child told investigators he wasn’t allowed out of the closet for hours at a time, lawyer says.

Boy also tested positive for methamphetamine exposure, according to authorities.

A 4-year-old boy who authorities believe was living in a closet at a Houston-area home has tested positive for methamphetamine exposure and has told investigators “his friends” were rats and roaches, according to an attorney representing the child’s interests.

A Harris County judge Tuesday allowed child welfare officials to keep the boy in their temporary custody while the case remains under investigation.

Investigators are not sure how long the boy was living at the home when deputies showed up Dec. 20 with a search warrant because they believed meth was being made and sold there.

Attorney Rachel Leal-Hudson told Houston TV station KTRK that the boy had also told investigators he wasn’t allowed out of the closet for hours at a time.

“His friends” were the “rats and roaches” that would visit him, Leal-Hudson said.

“He can articulate some things that are really shocking and surprising that tell us he was in there for a quite a length of time,” she said. “The detail on this case is very awful. This is a 4-year-old child who has seen things an adult should not have seen.”

She said the child talked of sneaking away from the closet and that his punishment was being forced to sit on top of a refrigerator where he was afraid he would fall after nodding off.

The boy’s mother, April Burrier, wasn’t present when the deputies showed up; she was arrested later. She’s facing a charge of endangering a child. She told authorities someone else was supposed to be taking care of her son but couldn’t identify that person.

Authorities are seeking the man they believe to have been making and selling drugs at the house.

The boy’s father, Robert Dehard, said Tuesday he had left the child with Burrier after Thanksgiving and now was seeking to regain custody of his son. Child welfare officials said he had previous drug convictions and until Tuesday had refused to submit to drug testing. His custody request has been delayed until next month to await test results.



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