Manhunt underway for third suspect in chained children case

Deandre Dorch, 36, lives in home where children were found

SAN ANTONIO – Deandre Dorch, 36, is wanted in connection with a case that involved two children being chained up in the backyard of a Northeast Bexar County home. He is the third suspect named in the case.

Dorch’s wife, Porucha Phillips, 34, was taken into custody shortly after the children were found on charges of injury to a child. The mother of the children, Cheryl Reed, 30, was arrested Thursday night.

Bexar County sheriff’s deputies found the 3- and 4-year-old victims April 28 after answering a call from neighbors about children crying. They said one child was chained to the ground and the other was tied to a tree with a dog leash.

James Keith, a spokesman for the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, said investigators are still trying to sort out the roles that all of the suspects played in the crime.

“We’ve had to deal with some people who have been less than honest,” Keith said. “It's still too soon to say exactly who tied them up in the backyard, but what we do know is that Deandre and Porucha were responsible for their care.”

Keith said it appeared that Reed had lived with the couple for a few months, beginning late last year. She told investigators she left the children with the couple in February when she traveled to California. Investigators suspect the Dorch and Phillips may have been using the children as a way to get back at Reed.

"Porucha and Deandre wanted money from her,” Keith said. “And when she failed to send them money, we believe Deandre then began to threaten her."

Keith said Dorch is currently on the run. According to an arrest warrant affidavit, however, he spoke to detectives at one point in this investigation, telling them that Reed had abused the children.

The affidavit stated that Dorch told detectives he witnessed Reed beating her children repeatedly with a “switch,” or tree branch. He told them he didn’t report it before because he’s “not a snitch,” and “not God.” Keith said doctors found evidence of that abuse in the form of old and new scars all over the children’s bodies.

"There were literally hundreds of wounds on these children. Hundreds. And that's not an exaggeration,” he said.

Reed also is facing two counts of injury to a child.

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Keith said the two children, as well as six others who were found inside the home, are now in the custody of Child Protective Services. Phillips is the mother of the six children found inside the home. Reed is the mother of the two children who were tied up outside.

Phillips, who is being held at the Bexar County Jail, was moved to another unit Friday after she said she was assaulted, the Sheriff's Office said. Officials said there is no evidence that she was assaulted, but she was moved to "be better protected."

Anyone who knows the whereabouts of Dorch is asked to call the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office’s tip line at 210-335-TIPS (8477).

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