Couple accused of abusing, starving and locking up boy

Authorities call this one of the most heinous cases of child abuse they've ever seen
February 7, 2014 6:14:13 PM PST
A Fort Bend County father and step-mother are charged now with one of the most heinous cases of child abuse investigators say they have ever seen. They tell us a nine-year-old boy was shocked with a Taser, hit with a hanger, burned repeatedly and locked in a closet under the stairs in their home.

According to court documents, the boy said the abuse started when he was just eight years old at the family's home in the 16400 block of Flint Run Way. He said the abuse began after Aide Estrella, his step-mother, accused him of taking her ring and then thought he was lying when he denied taking it.

As punishment, the boy said Estrella took him to the kitchen, turned on the gas stove and held his arm in the fire. He told detectives he tried to pull away but she would not let him.

The boy described repeated abuse that continued for some time. Investigators say he escaped from the home on November 23, 2013. He ran to a neighbor's house and knocked on the door after crawling out of a second story window. He later told authorities his step mother had kicked him out.

The neighbor called the Sheriff's Office and the boy was taken to the hospital, where doctors discovered evidence of that alleged abuse. They also said he was so malnourished that he was at "substantial risk" of death without medical intervention.

Investigators believe the boy was locked in that closet under the stairs for the better part of six months, often for days at a time. The boy told detectives he was rarely given food or water. He said he was only fed once per day.

According to court records he said "he has to drink his own urine" because "he did not have anything else to drink."

Aide Estrella and the boy's father, Jorge Estrella, Sr., are each charged with several counts of injury to a child. Investigators say the boy's father knew about the abuse and did nothing to stop it.

Inside the closet, investigators say they found only cardboard boxes and dog food. They say the boy was not allowed to go to school.

"Severe neglect and abuse," said Captain James Burger with the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office.

Aide Estrella's attorney refused our request for comment. Jorge Estrella's attorney, Shawn Mcdonald, claims there is no allegation that his client actually abused the boy. He says the boy had a medical condition and that they sought treatment for it, and that the ills are the result of a medical condition.

Jorge is currently out of custody after posting $125,000 bond. Aide remains in custody at the Fort Bend County Jail, under bonds totaling $190,000.

Child Protective Services has placed the boy with a foster family. He is said to be recovering.

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