HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – New details were provided Wednesday about the horrific case of an 8-year-old boy beaten to death and his three brothers abandoned with his remains for nearly a year in a west Harris County apartment.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez shared new details Wednesday in what homicide investigators are calling one of the most gruesome cases of child abandonment in recent years.
“There aren’t many jobs in our agency that are tougher than those involving abused children,” Gonzalez said. “These cases are horrific, heartbreaking cases of abuse and neglect. And they involve the most innocent and defenseless among our community.”
The supervisor of the homicide unit tasked with the investigation, Sgt. Dennis Wolfford described it as one of the more difficult cases he has worked on.
“This one is up there. This one affected us,” Wolfford said.
Brian Coulter, charged with the 8-year-old boy’s murder, did not appear in court Wednesday morning when a judge read his charges. He is being evaluated at a mental health unit.
The judge set the 31-year-old’s bond at $1 million. The judge also ordered he have no contact with any minors, specifically the minor witnesses in the case, and no contact with the boys’ mother, Gloria Williams.
At about 3:15 p.m. Sunday, deputies said they received a call from a 15-year-old who claimed his 9-year-old brother has been dead for a year and his body was in a room next to his in an apartment in the 3500 block of Green Crest, near Addicks-Clodine and the Westpark Tollway.
Deputies say the teenager explained that his parents had not been living in the apartment with him and his two younger siblings for several months.
Once at the apartment they found the three children alone as well as the skeletal remains of a small child.
The teen reportedly found his brother dead inside the bedroom a week before Thanksgiving in 2020. The sheriff’s office said the 8-year-old died from multiple blunt force trauma injuries.
In court, officials said the 10-year-old boy was in the room when Coulter allegedly beat his younger sibling to death, kicking and punching the child in the back and lower region.
The teenager also witnessed Coulter place a blue blanket over the deceased child, the court said.
Williams claims she confronted Coulter during the assault but she also did not report the murder or seek help. Her reasoning behind not reporting the incident? She told investigators she didn’t report it because her boyfriend told her not to, according to court documents. It’s believed Coulter and Williams moved out of the apartment shortly after that.
“I believe it was absolute fear,” HCSO Lt. Dennis Wilford said when asked why the teen didn’t call 911 sooner. “Over time, I believe that the beatings were consistent, mainly directed at the younger children, and the 15-year-old was absolutely afraid, basically, hoping and relying on his mother to at some point to contact law enforcement…and that didn’t happen.”
The teen told investigators Coulter would lock him in the bedroom and he could hear his mother’s boyfriend beating his younger siblings, officials said in court.
The children have since been taken into CPS care.
Coulter and Williams had been dating for several years, the lieutenant said.
“I would say they are both an abuser,” Wilford said. “He’s an abuser physically, and she’s an abuser by omission.”
Gonzalez said there are two additional siblings who were not inside the apartment but are elsewhere.
Wilford said the surviving children were “very thin.” He said there was no furniture in the apartment that was infested with insects and the carpet was soiled.
“I do not believe that the two young boys were ever allowed to leave that apartment,” Wilford said. “It’s possible they were locked in, possibly different parts of the apartment.”
The last time the children had been in school was May 2020.
Gonzalez said they believe the apartment was being paid for through government assistance. Investigators said the mother and some neighbors would occasionally bring the children food.
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