WARNING: Some of these photos are extremely graphic.
A Texas couple has been arrested for allegedly starving their 5-year-old son and locking him in a closet under the stairs of their home in Spring, about 24 miles north of Houston, according to investigators.
Bradley Bleimeyer, 24, and the boy’s stepmother, 33-year-old Tammi Bleimeyer, have been charged with one count each of felony child endangerment.
“I’ve never seen anything like this in 28 years of law enforcement,” Chief Mark Herman, Harris County Constable, Precinct 4, told HLN.
The saga began when Harris County Constable Precinct 4 deputies responded to a disturbance call at the couple’s home on March 27.
Upon arrival, police said they found the Bleimeyers' 16-year-old son arguing on the front lawn about the alleged abuse and neglect of a 5-year-old child.
During the investigation, police said they learned Bradley Bleimeyer’s 5-year-old son was forced to live in a closet under the stairs, according to a police press release.
Investigators attempted to locate the alleged victim, but said the child had been removed from the home by his stepmother prior to their arrival. Authorities said the couple was being uncooperative and repeatedly misled law enforcement to several false locations.
On March 28, police said they followed up on several locations in an attempt to locate the child without success.
Fearing the child was in imminent danger, police said they worked with a cell phone provider in an attempt to locate the child’s stepmother.
Cell phone records led police about 13 miles away to the city of Humble, where investigators said they went from door to door looking for the stepmother’s vehicle.
Eventually, police said they observed the child’s father leaving a motel room. Inside, police said they found the 5-year-old alleged victim and his stepmother.
“The 5-year-old victim had bumps, bruises, and was severely underweight,” police said in the press release.
The child was transported to a local hospital, then to a Houston hospital at the recommendation of doctors where Children’s Protective Services were called.
"I just don’t know how you do that to a child. It really hits you in the heart,” Herman said.
Tammi Bleimeyer is six-months pregnant and has other children in addition to the 16-year-old boy. She was released from the Harris County Jail Sunday after posting $2,000 bond.
Bradley Bleimeyer is being held in jail without bond.
Authorities are pursuing upgraded charges against the couple for injury to a child after speaking to doctors doing the evaluation on the child, Herman said.
HLN left messages for Tammi Bleimeyer’s attorney, Sam Maida, but calls were not returned.
Bradley Bleimeyer’s attorney, Ted Doebbler, declined to comment.
The 5-year-old boy is still in the hospital and in the custody of Children’s Protective Services.