A litany of shocking new details emerged during a Houston mother’s court appearance on Wednesday in connection with the murder of her eight-year-old son, including stomach-turning statements from her surviving children who described witnessing their brother’s savage beating and seeing his decomposing body.
Gloria Williams, 35, the victim’s mother, has been charged with injury to a child by omission and tampering with evidence – a human corpse. A judge set her bond at $900,000.
Her boyfriend, Brian Coulter, 31, is charged with felony murder in connection with the death of the eight-year-old child, identified in court documents obtained by DailyMail.com as Kendrick Lee. His bond was set at $1million.
Coulter was not present in court on Wednesday because he was undergoing a mental health evaluation.
The pair were arrested on Tuesday at a public library, where they were said to have been looking up news stories online about their own case.
During Williams’ court appearance, which was aired by KTRK, a prosecutor read aloud a statement of probable cause, which revealed that three of the mother’s surviving children witnessed Coulter beating Kendrick around Thanksgiving Day 2020.
Gloria Williams, 35, a mom-of-six, appeared in Houston court on Wednesday and was ordered held on $900,000 bond
Booking photos released by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office show Brian Coulter, 31, charged with beating to death his girlfriend’s eight-year-old son. The mother, Gloria Williams, 35, is charged with starving and neglecting her children
Kendrick Lee, the 8-year-old boy whose body was found decomposing next to his siblings, is pictured for the first time. Kendrick is seen with his surviving siblings
The children claimed Coulter struck the eight-year-old with closed fists and kicked him in his face, feet, back, testicles and buttocks.
Williams’ 7-year-old son told deputies Coulter continued kicking Kendrick, who was lying on the floor and not moving, while staring at the younger brother who was in the room.
After Kendrick’s eyes turned black and he stopped blinking, Coulter covered him with a blue blanket, the prosecutor stated.
When Williams entered the bedroom to check on her son and saw that he was dead, she began crying and fighting with Coulter.
Her 15-year-old son told investigators he believed his mother would call the police on Coulter, but ‘she never did.’ She then moved out of the apartment, leaving her surviving children with their brother’s rotting corpse and without any adult supervision.
William’s 10-year-old son told investigators that when Williams came by the apartment at a later date and lifted the blanket off of Kendrick, she found that ‘his body, feet and teeth had turned into a skeleton,’ and that ‘his hair was off.’ His decomposing corpse was said to have been covered with cockroaches.
The 10-year-old also claimed that Coulter would beat him as well, hitting him on the face, stomach, buttocks and legs, and broke his jaw three weeks ago.
When police arrived at the apartment on Sunday, they found the child with a swollen jaw. At the hospital the following day, the boy said that his mother ‘was aware of the injury but did not seek or obtain medical aid for him,’ the prosecutor said.
Authorities said that the 10-year-old will require surgery to treat his facial fracture.
When questioned by detectives, Williams claimed that when she entered the bedroom around Thanksgiving 2020 and found Coulter beating her son Kendrick, she stopped the attack.
After discovering the next day that Kendrick had died, Williams claimed that she confronted her boyfriend, who ‘stated he was sorry, that he lost it and punched him, and continued punching him until he went to sleep.’
Williams allegedly told investigators that she knew her son was dead a year ago, but she did not go to the police because Coulter had told her not to, and also because she was afraid that her children would be taken away and she would go to jail.’
During a press conference held by Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez on Wednesday morning, investigators said that Williams’ the younger children had been subjected to ‘consistent’ beatings at Coulter’s hands and were never allowed out of the apartment.
‘This is a textbook case of a person that abuses children,’ said Harris County Sgt Dennis Wolfford.
Wolfford, who heads the sheriff’s homicide unit, also had some harsh words for Williams, calling her ‘an abuser by omission.’
The sergeant said that there is no evidence that the mom-of-six was a victim of domestic violence herself, and that she had a year to report her son Kendrick’s murder and her other children’s abuse, but she chose not to do it.
Sheriff Gonzalez said that at least two of the three brothers, ages 15, 10 and 7, are on the autistic spectrum. All three children told responding officers that they were hungry and requested donuts.
‘They were very sweet children, very nice, very well-spoken,’ Wolfford said, noting, however, that they had ‘blankness in the eyes.’
He added: ‘it was very sad. They are good kids.’
Gonzalez and his investigators offered some further disturbing details on what they found inside the family’s apartment, revealing that all that was left of Kendrick Lee’s body was a ‘dry’ skeleton, which was out in the open, and that the unit had no furniture or bedding, featured a spoiled rug and was swarming with flies and cockroaches.
According to the sheriff, Kendrick and his three surviving brothers were fathered by two different men, one of whom has died.
The apartment they were sharing was being paid for using government assistance while Williams and Coulter lived about 6 miles away. The sheriff said the mother would routinely stop by to drop off ‘junk food’ for her children.
‘They were distancing themselves from their child,’ Wolfford said of the couple. ‘They know the entire time there is a dead body inside that apartment.’
Williams and Coulter were initially picked up by deputies on Sunday. They were questioned and released, leaving many people to wonder why they had been let go.
On Wednesday, Sheriff Gonzalez and Sgt Wolfford explained that they did not have sufficient evidence to arrest them in the immediate aftermath of the gruesome discovery.
Williams’ 15-year-old son, who had been caring for his two younger brothers with the help of a neighbor who brought them food and charged their cell phone when the electricity to their home was cut, called 911, prompting the welfare check on Sunday.
Sheriff Gonzalez commanded the teen for finally seeking help, despite being gripped by ‘absolute fear’ for many months.
Linda Smith, the grandmother of one of Williams’ children, told DailyMail.com in an interview on Wednesday that had she known what was going on, she would have adopted her grandson, Ja’Veon Kirklin, 7, along with his brothers, Jordan Lee, 15, and Trevon Lee, 10. Williams’ daughter, 17-year-old Jasmine Whitaker, and another child were not living with the family.
A Houston woman, Gloria Y. Williams (left), 35, and her boyfriend, Brian W. Coulter (right), 31, were arrested and charged by authorities on Tuesday for abandoning and neglecting her three young children in a home for months at a time while the kids’ eight-year-old brother’s corpse decomposed in the house for more than a year.
The arrests were made two days after law enforcement officials found Williams’ three children abandoned inside a Houston apartment. Investigators also found a rotting corpse of Williams’ eight-year-old son who had been dead for more than a year
A criminal complaint filed against Coulter alleges that on November 20, 2020, he murdered his girlfriend’s son Kendrick by punching and kicking him to death.
Separate complaints against Williams accuse the mom-of-six of concealing her son’s death, starving one of her other children and failing to protect a third from injury.
According to additional court filings, Coulter and Williams left the eight-year-old’s body to rot in a closet, and then abandoned the woman’s other children.
Court documents obtained by DailyMail.com indicate that Williams was charged twice for failing to enroll her children in school.
Alief Independent School District told KTRK that in 2019 and 2020, the school district filed truancy papers against the siblings’ mother because two of them, Ja’Veon Kirklin and his older sister, were not attending school. The children were last enrolled in May 2020.
Both charges were later dismissed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Smith, Kirkin’s paternal grandmother, told DailyMail.com that Williams and her children stayed with her for a time in 2014 while the boy’s biological father was in jail.
The grandmother ultimately asked Williams to leave after learning that the woman had been bringing various men over to her house – a decision Smith now regrets.
‘The Gloria I knew never would have done this to her kids, but it looks like she did, I guess you never know someone,’ Smith said.
Williams and Coulter allegedly left the children alone for months at a time while they lived in a different home
Court documents obtained by DailyMail.com indicate that Williams was charged twice for failing to enroll her children in school. Both charges were later dismissed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Williams is seen left alongside Coulter in this undated file photo
The image above shows a notice of removal of children left by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. According to the notice, state officials took custody of the three children on Sunday evening after police conducted a welfare check
Recent social media posts show that Williams has been referring to Coulter as her husband, and the two even got matching ‘warrior’ tattoos.
Coulter’s significant collection of body art also includes the words ‘loyalty’ and ‘family over everything,’ along with face tattoos depicting a cross and a dollar sign.
His Instagram page, which was last updated in August, shows the murder suspect posing up in his over-the-top jewelry, listening to hip hop and making unintelligible comments.
The Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office on Tuesday ruled that Kendrick Lee, eight, suffered multiple blunt force injuries, resulting in his death by homicide.
According to a report from the victim’s 15-year-old brother, he and his two surviving siblings had been living with his decomposing body in their apartment for a year.
Shortly before the teen called 911 on Sunday, he texted his mother to tell her he could not take it anymore, it has emerged.
Court documents obtained by DailyMail.com indicate that Williams was charged twice for failing to enroll her children in school, including her daughter who was 15 in 2019
One of the negligence charges was related to the truancy of one of Williams’ sons
The charges were ultimately dismissed in May 2020 because of COVID-19
The call led to a series of disturbing revelations, including that the three children, ages 15, 10 and 7, had been left to fend for themselves for several months, relying on food donations from unsuspecting neighbors to survive, while sharing an apartment with the decomposing remains of their sibling – even as their mother and her boyfriend lived just 15 minute away.
Detectives with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office questioned the couple before releasing them on Monday pending the outcome of the criminal investigation.
Child welfare services in Texas have also launched an investigation into the horror find at the apartment complex on Houston’s west side.
Erica Chapman, who lives at CityParc II at West Oaks Apartments, said she was among the people who had been feeding the malnourished 15-year-old, not knowing he was living with his two younger brothers.
‘The first time I saw him, he was sleeping on one of the slides,’ Chapman told KTRK.
Williams has referred to Coulter as her husband, but there is no proof the two are married
Coulter’s Instagram page includes videos showing him posing up in jewelry, listening to music and making garbled comments
The phrase ‘family over everything’ is seen etched into Coulter’s body
Harris County Sheriff’s Department officers are seen above at a Houston apartment complex on Sunday afternoon where three children were found in a neglected state along with the decomposing body of their slain eight-year-old brother
Williams, the mother of the three children, lived with her boyfriend, Coulter, just 15 minutes away from the apartment complex where her 8-year-old son was found dead
Investigators also found the decomposed body of a eight-year-old boy inside the apartment
Law enforcement officials said that the three children were given food by neighbors
Chapman said she noticed that the teen’s mother was rarely home. She would occasionally show up bearing noodles, snacks and drinks. The abandoned teen would run downstairs to pick up the food and then return to the apartment.
About six months ago, Chapman said she started offering the 15-year-old food, but she said he refused to accept cooked meals, only agreeing to take packaged snacks, fruit and pizza.
Trevor Thompson, another neighbor who had been helping out the boy, told the station the child was paranoid and feared getting poisoned.
Thompson said the teen knocked on his door one day, asking to borrow a charger. After that, the neighbor said he forged a bond with the boy and started offering him food.
Both Thompson and Chapman said they had no idea there were two younger children living with the 15-year-old.
Thompson recalled that on one occasion he asked the teen if he liked the pizza he had given him.
‘And he asked, “What? The first pizza we had?”‘ Thompson recounted. ‘That made me wonder why would he say, “We.”‘
Erica Chapman said she had been feeding the 15-year-old boy because his mother only rarely showed up to giver him snacks
Chapman speculated that the teen may have concealed the existence of his brothers because he was afraid of being blamed, punished by his mother, or separated from his siblings.
The neighbors said they never called the authorities because they did not grasp the severity of the situation involving the teen, who was described as quiet and discreet.
‘I didn’t want to push him away by asking questions because I knew he was starving and needed food,’ Chapman said.
All three surviving siblings were taken to a hospital for treatment. They were said to be malnourished and injured, and the 10-year-old had broken bones in his face.
According to investigators, the 15-year-old said that the parents hadn’t been living at home for months, effectively abandoning the children to be on their own.
When police arrived to the home on Sunday afternoon, they found the brother’s skeletal remains out in the open, KPRC-TV reported.
The two younger boys appeared to be malnourished and ‘showed signs of physical injury,’ according to law enforcement officials.
‘It appears they were basically fending for each other,’ Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told reporters.
‘The older sibling was doing the best he could to take care of the others.’
Trevor Thompson, who did not want to be shown on camera, also had been helping the teen. He was the boy was paranoid and feared of being poisoned
Authorities have not said whether or not they were looking for the children’s biological father.
‘Connecting all the dots, it seems they were in there while the body was deteriorating,’ the sheriff said.
HCSO is now investigating to determine the circumstances that led to the death of the minor and how long the kids had been alone.
‘To ensure the safety of the children, the Department of Family and Protective Services is seeking emergency custody of the three boys,’ the agency said in a statement on Monday.
‘Child Protective Services does have history with the family, but there was no active CPS investigation at the time the children were discovered alone in their apartment.’
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said a unit was sent to do a welfare check at the residence after receiving a call. The body was not concealed
Residents of the area said that management had been doing inspection rounds in the area for the last couple of weeks.
A neighbor living next door to the siblings told KTRK she had no idea there was anyone occupying that unit, let alone children.
The neighbor in the apartment complex told the station KTRK that she complained for months about a foul odor emanating from the unit where the shocking discovery was made over the weekend.
She said that 13 or 14 months ago, she first noticed a vile odor wafting from what she thought was an abandoned apartment.
The smell was so bad, the woman said, that she would be forced to turn off her air conditioning to prevent it from entering her apartment through the vents.
The neighbor said she complained several times to the building’s management about the smell, but it is unclear if anyone had gone to the unit housing the siblings to inspect it.
The children had seemingly been left abandoned by adults for a long period of time and were ‘fending for each other’
Homicide investigators along with CPS and Child Abuse investigators are also working on the case
Police said the investigation is still in the preliminary stages .
‘Very horrific situation here, very tragic. I’ve been in this business for a long time and I’ve never heard of a scenario like this, it really caught me by surprise,’ said Gonzalez when addressing the media on Sunday evening.
‘We are trying to identify next of kin to determine exactly what happened and how we got to this point…We’re going to make sure we conduct a thorough follow-up investigation,’ he added.