Collateral Damage: Police Find 6-Year-Old Tied Up in Shed, Say He's Been There Since School Shut Down


A 6-year-old was found with his hands tied behind his back inside a shed behind a home in Dallas, Texas, on Sunday.

The boy’s 53-year-old grandmother, Esmeralda Lira, and her boyfriend, Jose Balderas, have been arrested and are facing charges, according to the arrest affidavit KTVT obtained Tuesday.

The night of the arrests, the boy had allegedly been locked up at around 10:30 p.m. before police found him at 11:30 p.m.

In a forensic interview, the child said that he would be tied up in the shed whenever his grandmother left the house. Lira allegedly would tell him he was bad and would bathe the child by spraying him with hose water.

The child told police that the abuse had been going on since he “got out of school for this corona thing.”

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His grandmother would also allegedly kick him and grab him by the ears.

Lira confirmed to police that the boy had been locked up as punishment, KABC-TV reported.

Balderas said that the abuse had been happening for about two weeks because the boy had allegedly been stealing food, though the boyfriend claimed he didn’t want to be involved in the situation.

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The child, however, said that he was not allowed to come inside the house and was locked in the shed at night before being let out in the morning, according to KTVT.

He told officers that there were rats and insects in the shed with him.

He was also reportedly given a plastic bag as an emergency bathroom.

Lira and Balderas were being held on a $100,000 bond, each, and face felony charges of endangering a child.

Child Protective Services removed two other children from the home.

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Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center President Lynn Davis said that the best thing for the community to do is to report any situation that seems off.

“Just keep your eye out,” Davis told KTVT.

“If you’re at the grocery store or if you’re walking your neighborhood and you see something suspicious or something that makes your gut just not feel well, make a report.”

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith