Seven special-needs teens found in ‘deplorable’ conditions; adoptive mother facing charges

RICHMOND, Texas (AP) – A sheriff says seven special-needs teenagers aged 13 to 16 years old have been removed from “deplorable” conditions at a Houston-area home where they were locked for long periods in a closet.

Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls said in a statement Monday that detectives went to the home Nov. 23. The malnourished teens were kept in a single room that smelled of human waste and had been struck with a wooden paddle. Nehls didn’t describe the nature of the youths’ special needs except to say one of them has Down syndrome.

Nehls says their adoptive mother, 54-year-old Paula Sinclair, locked them in a 5-by-8-foot closet when she went out.

Sinclair and a second person are facing charges that include injury to a child.

She’s being held at the Fort Bend County jail. Online records don’t indicate an attorney who can speak on her behalf.

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