Children Living In Bus – A postal worker reported two children to Child Protective Services after they were found alone in an abandoned bus at the end of a muddy road in Houston, Texas. A 5-year-old boy and 11-year-old girl were discovered in an old passenger vehicle that was on cinder blocks with no front-end or engine compartment. There were make shift curtains covering all the windows except one that contained an air-conditioning unit.
There was also a great amount of trash strewn around the property the bus sat next to. Authorities also found a bunk bed inside.
Neighbors in the area reported to the Houston Chronicle that the children were always dirty looking and were often seen running around at night.
“They always had dirty clothes on (and) no shoes, even in the winter,” said nearby resident Gayla Payne.
The children have been placed into foster care and child welfare agents have discovered that the parents of the children, Mark and Sherrie Shorten, had intended the bus to be a temporary home so that they could build a home on the property, but have been in prison, for apparently embezzling money from Hurricane Ike victims in 2008.
“The house is normally clean. If me or my wife were there, it would not be in that shape, I assure you,” Mark Shorten said to the AP in a phone interview from a prison in Oklahoma. “Our house would be completed or almost completed.” He added that he has not slept since Wednesday after finding out his children were in foster care.
Meanwhile, Sherrie’s attorney, Randal McCann, said that during the case against the parent’s, it was believed that an aunt was taking care of the children. Authorities did find the elderly aunt living on another piece of the wooded property. She told them that she was working 12 hour shifts during the week but spent nights with the children.
“It was believed by everybody involved in this case that (the aunt) was properly tending to those children. What I saw in the newspaper this morning it was shocking,” McCann said, referring to a report in the Houston Chronicle.
It was not known exactly for how long the children have been on their own, mother Sherrie had been arrested in December of 2010 and father Mark was arrested in March of 2011.