The mother of the two toddlers who police say are seen smoking marijuana on a videotape says she was devastated to see her brother allegedly giving drugs to her 4-year-old and 2-year-old sons, but insists he never meant to hurt the children.
Shatorria Russell, 21, told ABC News she was at home at the time of the incident, but in another room. She says she was unaware of what her 17-year-old brother, Demetris McCoy, and his 18-year-old friend, Vanswan Polty, were allegedly doing with the two boys, aged two and four.
The incident was recorded on videotape by another juvenile, according to police in Watauga, Texas. The tape has been aired widely on cable news stations.
McCoy and Polty have been charged by Watauga police with injury to a child, according to the Associated Press. The tape and camera were found in the house after a search warrant was issued last month in connection with some burglaries. The youth who made the tape has not been arrested.
Today, Russell defended her teenage brother, the boys' uncle.
"I know he don't mean to never hurt my children," she said.
The toddlers have been placed in foster care. Child welfare officials say have been unable so far to find relatives to take care of the children.
"We are still looking," said Marissa Gonzales, a spokeswoman for Tarrant County Child Protective Services.
Gonzales said the family was not known to Child Protective Services, but the family is now being investigated.
Gonzales said the children were examined by doctors, who said any marijuana they may have ingested would not have any long-term effect.
Investigators are also trying to determine whether the children were unsupervised at the time.
"We're not sure if [Russell] left the children in the suspects' care," said Sgt. Robert Parker of the Watauga Police Department . He said there was "reason to believe this has happened before."
Russell has not been charged with a crime.
"I want them to let my children go and they bring them home," she said.