Authorities in Texas have released a report showing that a 7-year-old boy found dead in a washing machine suffered a traumatic childhood and had multiple interactions with child protective services before his death.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services released a report showing two DFPS investigations within a four-month period before 7-year-old Troy Khoeler was found dead inside a washing machine in Harris County, Texas, in July, KRIV-TV reported.
Both investigations were closed after investigators could not determine if marks and bruises on Khoeler’s body were the result of abuse or roughhousing accidents from other kids as the parents claimed.
Those parents, 42-year-old Jermaine Thomas and 35-year-old Tiffany Thomas, who adopted Khoeler from foster care in 2019, were arrested and charged in Khoeler’s death last month.
Texas authorities have charged the adoptive parents of 7-year-old Troy Khoeler with his death. (Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office)
The report shows that Khoeler suffered abuse and trauma throughout his childhood, starting from his time as a newborn when he showed symptoms of drug withdrawal after his biological mother admitted to abusing hydrocodone and Xanax without a prescription during pregnancy.
Khoeler was removed from his mother’s care amid concerns she did not understand his feeding schedule and after they both tested positive for opiates.
Child protective services was tipped off in January about bruises around Khoeler’s eyes, and the child claimed he had been hit with a toy by his cousin. But the report notes that his story did not seem consistent with the marks, and Khoeler was unable to provide further details.
The report also says the family explained away a burn mark on Khoeler’s back, saying it happened at a family gathering in 2020 but noted that Khoeler was skittish and flinching while talking to investigators.
On March 31, investigators were involved again after Khoeler’s school reported he had bruises on his face, a red mark covering half his eyelid and a fingernail imprint on his back.
The adoptive parents of 7-year-old Troy Khoeler have been charged in his death (Harris County Sheriff’s Office)
Khoeler gave investigators differing explanations, saying he had fallen on concrete after his cousin pushed him, and his parents said the facial marks came from playing with his cousins.
The January investigation concluded that Khoeler was at low risk. The second investigation, closed in May, moved the risk assessment up to moderate.
Less than three months later, Khoeler was found dead.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.
“The CPS investigation is closed,” Tiffani Butler, a spokeswoman for the department, told the Houston Chronicle. “There is no other public information about the case or DFPS policies at this time, outside of what’s in the fatality report.”
Authorities investigating the case found text messages between the parents showing animosity toward the young boy, including a message threatening to “put him in the stove and turn it on” if he did not confess to eating cookies without permission.
The Houston, Texas, city skyline at dusk and I-45 commuter traffic. (Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
“I need to get the (locks),” Jermaine Thomas allegedly texted Tiffany Thomas. “I’m going to end up kill him. You going to come home and he going to be hang from the f— tree outside.”
“F— that I’m for not doing s— for his birthday,” Tiffany Thomas allegedly said in another text. “I’m so sick of this boy. Like I’m really tired of him and don’t want him in this house no more.”
Three days before Khoeler was reported missing, Tiffany Thomas reportedly said in a text, “This boy got life f—ed up. Why I come out the restroom from taking my shower and his funky a– is in the living room watching TV.”
Jermaine Thomas was charged with capital murder, and Tiffany Thomas was charged with injury to a child by omission.
Andrew Mark Miller is a writer at Fox News. Find him on Twitter @andymarkmiller and email tips to [email protected]