Two children are still hospitalized after deputies discovered one child allegedly chained to the ground and another allegedly tied to a door with a leash in the backyard of a Texas home Thursday night, officials say.
The outpouring of support and interest in the case has been overwhelming, officials say.
“People want to help these children,” says James Keith, chief communications officer at the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office. “[Now,] they’re away from this abusive situation.”
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Last week, deputies received a call from an anonymous caller who reported a child had been crying for a long time in a neighboring backyard. When deputies arrived, they allegedly discovered six unsupervised children inside the home and two outside.
Porucha Phillips, 34, the mother of the six children inside the home, was arrested and charged with Injury to a Child by Omission with Serious Bodily Injury.
The mother of the two children found outside has been located in California, but officials say that Phillips had been caring for the children.
“[Phillips] was responsible for them at the time,” Keith tells PEOPLE, adding that investigators are unsure why her children are in the San Antonio area.
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services spokesperson Patrick Crimmins told the Associated Press that the six children found inside the house were placed in foster care and that authorities are worried all of the children may be malnourished. Crimmins told the AP that one of the injured children has a fractured arm and wrist and that the other has scarring and abrasions.
Keith tells PEOPLE the agency has been stunned by the discovery of the alleged abuse.
“These deputies are trained to handle tough situations,” says Keith. “This was still a tough one. A lot of tears were shed, but it reminds you why we do what we do.”