The emaciated body of a 10-year-old boy who was blind and suffered from cerebral palsy was found in a cardboard box in the back of his father's car and his father is now behind bars.
Jeffrey Singer, 45, is charged with the third degree felony of injury to a child by omission. Police discovered the body of 10-year-old John Singer early Sunday morning. The boy's mother, 41-year-old Tina Madrid, was arrested but later released.
Police are still investigating how the boy died. The child weighed between 35 and 45 pounds, authorities said. He required the use of a breathing machine.
"The father of the deceased had gone to his father's home and told him something bad had happened to his son and he was going to have to turn himself in," said Vance Mitchell, public information officer for the Pasadena Police Department.
The grandfather, who police have not identified, called authorities. When officers from the Houston Police Department responded to the home at around 4 a.m., they made the grisly discovery of the boy's body.
"When they opened the vehicle…there was a foul smell…It was in the back hatch of the SUV," Mitchell said.
Just hours earlier, Pasadena Police had received a call from the boy's uncle.
"He knew he was a special needs child. He said he had talked to his brother and there was some concern about his mental state and since then he was unable to make contact with him and he was concerned about the welfare of child," Mitchell said.
Pasadena Police visited the apartment that Singer shared with the boy's mother and one of their two teenage daughters.
Tina Madrid talked to the officers about 11 p.m. Saturday night, telling them that everything was fine and the boy was visiting his grandfather.
Authorities discovered five hours later that Singer had driven his dead son to his father's home.
"We're all torn apart. I hadn't even told my daughter. I don't really want to talk about it in front of her," said Adrianne Singer, sister-in-law of Jeffrey Singer. "I'm still in shock."
Adrianne Singer said the couple had recently fallen on hard times. A fire gutted their home two years ago, forcing them to move into an apartment. Jeffrey Singer has worked as a hospital maintenance worker and was suffering from cancer, ABC Affiliate KTRK reported.
One of the couple's two teenage daughters was staying with Madrid's sister, Adrianne Singer said.
"It seems like things had gotten a little rough because he's been out of work…they've been struggling," Adrianne Singer said.
Singer called the family "nice people."
"They do treat their kids well," she said.
A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Child and Protective Services are still investigating whether they've previously been called to check in on the couple before.
The couple's two teenage daughters are staying with relatives, Child Protective Services spokesperson Gwen Carter said.
Police are still trying to confirm if the boy attended school. A call to two school districts in the area showed John Singer was not a registered student at them.