Charges upgraded for trio accused of tying up children in backyard

Porucha Phillips, Deandre Dorch, Cheryl Reed could face up to life in prison

SAN ANTONIO – Charges have been upgraded for three people accused of tying up two children in the backyard of a northeast Bexar County home and abandoning them.

Porucha Phillips, 34, Deandre Dorch, 36, and Cheryl Reed, 30, are charged with injury to a child - serious bodily injury and child abandonment, the Bexar County District Attorney's Office said.

"Once getting into the investigation further and prepping these cases for trial at a later date, we spoke with the medical professionals, we dug through the medical reports and we got serious bodily injury based off the medical evaluation," said Nico LaHood, Bexar County district attorney.

The new charges allow prosecutors to seek punishment of up to life in prison when the suspects go on trial.

The three were already charged with injury to a child - bodily injury, a charge that allows for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

The charges are in connection with an incident on April 28, when a resident on the 8100 block of Chipping Drive called 911 after hearing a child cry for several hours. Bexar County sheriff's deputies found a 3-year-old and a 4-year-old tied with a dog chain and leash, sheriff's investigators said. One of the children was tied up by the wrists and the other by the ankles. The children were taken to a hospital for treatment of numerous injuries, investigators said. Deputies then found six children, ranging in age from 10 months old to 11 years old, inside the home without adult supervision.

"We looked at neglect over a period of time," LaHood said. "It wasn't just that moment. A lot of people are just looking at that snap shot, which is bad enough. We looked at the conditions of their bodies leading up to that as well. It shocks your conscience and our intent is to hold these people accountable."

Related: Mother of children found chained: 'I don't understand why I am in jail'

Phillips, the mother of the six children inside the home, showed up at the home with Dorch about an hour later,  investigators said. Reed, the mother of the two children found outside, claimed she was in California at the time. She returned to San Antonio several days later.

The trio were friends who had recently moved from California, investigators said.

The children are in the custody of Child Protective Services. 

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