UNIVERSAL CITY, Texas – Gabriel Ramirez, 31, has been arrested after seven of his children were found home alone, living in filthy conditions, Universal City police said.
Ramirez was booked into the Bexar County Jail Friday after his Thursday afternoon arrest.
He's charged with seven counts of abandoning a child, as well as one count of injury to a child.
Sgt. Tina Vitacco said a relative called police around noon Thursday to check on the welfare of the children.
When officers arrived, they found the boys and girls unsupervised inside a home in the 200 block of Flintstone Drive, Vitacco said.
City health inspectors later condemned the property, she said.
"I don't know how else to describe it but just, pretty much, filthy. There were roaches and lots of rodents and that kind of thing," Vitacco said.
The children, who were turned over to Child Protective Services, all appeared to be healthy overall and well-fed, she said.
However, a toddler was found to have suffered a second-degree burn on his torso earlier this week, she said.
Because it wasn't treated, the children's father, Ramirez, was also charged with injury to a child.
He was arrested after he showed up at the home Thursday afternoon.
"Dad goes to work in the morning and mom's supposed to be home by the time he leaves," Vitacco said. "I guess he had to leave for work and no one was there."
Vitacco said the actions of the children's mother are still being investigated.
Becky Perez, a neighbor and friend, described Ramirez as hardworking.
She said she believes the couple simply got overwhelmed.
"It's hard with eight kids, I imagine. If I have a hard time with (my four children), you know? I can imagine eight, it's more hectic," Perez said.
"I know he's always working. And I know she does what she can do," she said.
The efforts, though, were not enough, as far as police are concerned.
Mary Walker, spokeswoman for CPS, said the future of the children still hasn't been decided.
However, she said stories like this should act as a reminder for everyone to watch out for the well-being of children, particularly now that they're out of school.
Walker said it's important to watch for warning signs that a child is not being fed or is being left alone.