4 women arrested after 6-year-old duct taped, 1-year-old with burned hands found

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HOUSTON — Four women are behind bars after police said a maintenance work discovered a 6-year-old boy with his eyes and wrists duct taped at their apartment in southwest Houston.

The child's mother Maria Ruiz, 43, is charged with endangering a child after investigators said she saw her son blinded with tape and did nothing to stop it.

The Houston Police Department was called to the complex around 6 p.m. Monday after an employee at the Villa Contende Apartments in the 5800 block of Dashwood Dr. made the discovery.  HPD officials said a maintenance worker came to the apartment to repair the unit's air conditioner when he saw all four women inside with the victim, who had his hands taped behind his back.

The worker took a picture of the child and told his manager, who notified police.

Detectives said Estephanie Garcia, 21, and Emily Zuniga, 19, told officers the two of them duct taped the boy because he kept getting into fights at school and couldn't control him.  A fourth woman in the apartment, Laura Garcia-Reyes, 42, was also charged.

All three women are related to the boy and have also been charged with child endangerment, investigators said.

Police said several other children were also found in the apartment including Garcia's 1-year-old girl, who had severe burns on her hands. Both the toddler and 6-year-old were taken to the hospital for treatment, HPD officials said.

Police said both children have since been released and moved to foster care. The remaining children were placed with other relatives, investigators said.

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