DALLAS – She locked her six-year-old grandson in the backyard shed all alone in the dark. The grandson had been accused of stealing food by the grandmother’s boyfriend.
For that, Esmeralda Lira, 53, and boyfriend Jose Balderas, 64, are facing felony charges of child endangerment. The two are reportedly being held on $100,000 bail each, along with immigration holds. An immigration hold is put on a person who is arrested for criminal charges and checked by ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement) for possible deportation.
Officers found the boy Sunday night. The discovery was made during a health and welfare check in the 1100 block of Coston Drive in Pleasant Grove at around 11:30 p.m. A report had come in that three children at the Coston Drive home were not only tied up, but also had not been fed.
Police searched the home and found the seven-year-old sister and four-year-old brother sleeping in a bedroom in the house.
Officers could not find the third child. They took the search outside and discovered the locked shed. Lira gave police the key and when the shed was unlocked police found the boy in standing in the dark in a bucket with his hands tied with shoelaces behind his back, according to reports.
Medics were called to the scene however the boy was not taken to the hospital.
The boy reportedly later told detectives he was often made to sleep in the shed when he was bad. He said he was given a plastic bag to go to the bathroom.
The six-year-old told police the abuse began around the time he got out of school due to COVID-19.
Balderas did confess to knowledge of the abuse but said he did not want to be involved in it.
The three children are now in custody with Child Protective Services.