On May 13, The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services received a referral alleging Neglected Supervision and Physical Neglect of 8-year -old Austin of the Tarkington area of Liberty County. The alleged party to this was his mother 28-year-old Patricia McHaney.
It was discovered that Austin was in forced isolation from the family from Sunday, May 9th to Thursday, May 12th.
The mother Patricia McHaney required Austin to stat in the abandon Bethel Baptist Church building across from their home in the 27000 block of Highway 321. He was found by concerned citizens .The concerned citizen had observed Austin abandon and isolated for extended periods of time until law enforcement was requested to do a welfare check on little Austin.
Detective Sergeant Robert Harper of the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department located Austin and discovered Austin was dirty, barefooted, and emaciated and was complaining of severe itching. Detective Harper transported Austin to Bridgehaven for a formal interview.
In the interview with Investigator Loyce Stephenson Austin revealed that he was being isolated as punishment by his mother. He explained that the punishment consisted of being forced to go to the abandon church building and remain. As his mother escorted him across the street to the building she would strike him with a yardstick. Austin told them he felt the house was shunning him and was not told by his mother why he was being punished in this manner.
The church building that Austin was forced to stay in did not have running water or toliet facilities. Mother. Patricia McHaney had given Austin an empty paint can and a roll of toilet paper to use as a toilet Sergant Harper also found a small fan and two empty water bottles.
According to Austin, his mother walked across Highway 321 two or three timmes a day to give himm food, however she would not talk to him. At night Austin was required to sleep in a truck in the driveway of thhe family home. He was not allowed to come into the home or be around his family. Austin was unsupervised while crossing Highway 321 several times a day.
Ms. McHaney admitted to CPS that she had left her son at the church across the highway as punishment for being defiant and mean to his younger brother and for not completing his homework. Austin was being home schooled at the time. She denied making him sleep in the truck but that Austin requested to sleep there.
It is reported that Austin weighs forty-five pounds and appears under weight. He has been removed from the home due to what CPS calls exigent circumstances of abuse and neglect.
The home consisted of Austin, two step brothers their mother Patricia and a grandmother and grandfather. Robert and Belinda Carr. Austin’s 10-year -old step brother told officials he was aware of the “isolation punishment” that Austin was assessed by their mother and made the statements, “Austin tries to get everyone in trouble with his hatefulness”. and “Mother made him sleep in the truck and not the house because she said if he doesn’t want to act like part of the family, he can’t sleep with the family.”
The step brother Thomas’s father is currently incarcerated in Bent County, Colorado.
His other brother 1-year-old Christian’s father lives in New Caney.
CPS has had a history at this location. In 2001 Patricia McHaney’s case showed unable to determine for Neglectful Supervision and Physical Neglect of her oldest son Thomas.
In 2005 Patricia McHaney’s paramour’s brother and was deemed Reason to Believe Sexual Abuse against her son, Thomas.
In 2008 Patricia McHaney’s case was deemed Reason to Believe For Neglectful Supervision of her son Thomas and her paramour was deemed Reason to Believe for Physical abuse against Thomas.
In July 2005 there was a suit filed and a Judge ordered paternal grandparents managing conservatorship of young Thomas.
In that case Patricia McHaney admitted that Thomas’s paternal uncle accompanies the paternal grandparents to pick him up for visits. This placed the boy in the company of a man who sexually abused him. It is said that mother Patricia McHaney did not protect her son by either ammending the Court Order involving the paternal grandparents conservatorship or placing a call to CPS Intake in Austin to alert CPS to protect her child when she could not.
CPS has been given custody of the children at this time. No arrests have been made.