RICHMOND, Texas — Seven special needs children are now safe after being rescued from an abusive and neglectful foster mother and one of the four men living with them in Richmond, the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office said.
Paula "Mom" Sinclair, 54, and Allen "Coach" Richardson, 78, are charged with aggravated kidnapping and injury to a child.
Child Protective Services and officers were shocked to discover seven teens, between 13 and 16 years of age, when they arrested the foster mother Nov. 23 at her home in the Long Meadow Farms subdivision. CPS said it received a call Nov. 22 in the afternoon, and a caseworker responded immediately.
Investigators said all seven teens are listed as "special needs," including a boy who suffers from Down Syndrome. The sheriff's office said he was wearing a dirty diaper when officers removed him from the home. Sinclair adopted the children with her husband who no longer lives at the residence, the sheriff's office said.
Investigators said Sinclair would lock the children in a 5 feet by 8-feet closet, which was already packed with clothes and boxes, while she brought Richardson to visit his doctor. Deputies said the two would be gone for hours at times, so long that some of the children would urinate on themselves.
“I cannot think of a more deplorable situation than what we have learned in this case,” Sheriff Troy E. Nehls said. “These people are taking advantage of a lousy situation at the expense of children who cannot fend for themselves. It is absolutely heart-breaking.”
Officers said the foster kids were kept in room that also smelled of urine and feces. There, deputies also report finding a wooden paddle that Sinclair is accused of using to beat the children with.
Deputies said the teens' malnourished bodies and tattered clothes were further evidence of their neglect. All the children had learning disabilities and none had ever attended school while in Sinclair's care, the sheriff's office said.
The victim's were taken to the Fort Bend County Children's Advocacy Center in Rosenberg to be interviewed before being brought to a Houston hospital for treatment, deputies said.
A Fort Bend County judge gave temporary custody of the children to CPS Tuesday. The teens will be re-entered into foster care until at least the next hearing Jan. 18. Doctors have told DFPS that the children's health conditions are improving.
Sinclair was also operating an adult group home at the time, deputies said. Three adult men live downstairs in the home, investigators said. Two were onsite and the other was away when officers came.
Sinclair and Richardson are being held at the Fort Bend County jail.
CPS released a statement Monday night saying:
"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."