Special needs teens found in “deplorable” conditions in Texas home

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RICHMOND, Texas (KWTX) Paula Sinclair, 54, and Allen Richardson, 78, were jailed Tuesday, charged with aggravated kidnapping and injury to a child after seven special-needs children were found living in what a sheriff describes as “deplorable” conditions in a home in Richmond where a younger child died five years ago.

Paula Sinclair (left) and Allen Richardson. (Jail photos)

“I cannot think of a more deplorable situation than what we have learned in this case,” Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy E. Nehls said in a press release.

“These people are taking advantage of a lousy situation at the expense of children who cannot fend for themselves. It is absolutely heart-breaking.”

A 7-year-old special-needs child died at the same home in January 2011, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services spokeswoman Tiffani Butler told The Associated Press Tuesday.

She declined to discuss the circumstances.

She said the other seven children were in the home at the time, but were not removed.

Butler told AP that no charges were filed in the younger child's death.

Investigators determined that all seven of the malnourished children removed from the home last month stayed in one room in the home and that when Sinclair took Richardson to see a doctor, all seven were locked in a closet that measured roughly five feet by eight feet that was filled with clothes and boxes, leaving even less room for the children.

“Quite often the adults were gone so long that the children would urinate on themselves,” the press release said.

“The larger room smelled of urine and feces and the children wore shabby clothes. One of the children suffers from Down syndrome and was wearing a dirty diaper when he was removed from the home,” the press release said.

Investigators determined that all seven children have learning disabilities and that none had ever attended school.

Sinclair was also operating a group home for adults in the same house and three men lived downstairs, authorities said.

Investigators went to the home on Nov. 23, Nehls said.

Sinclair and Richardson were arrested Saturday.

Sinclair and her former husband were described as the adoptive parents of the seven children, but the ex-husband did not live in the home and has not been charged, authorities said.

The children were removed from the home and were taken to the Fort Bend County Children’s Advocacy Center in Rosenberg for interviews and then were transferred to a Houston hospital for treatment.