A 6-year-old boy, G., was starved and imprisoned by his grandmother, Esmeralda Lira, and her boyfriend Jose Balderas. Two other children who lived in the home, a 7-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy, were not reported to be abused. G. was being educated at home due to pandemic-related school closures.
G. told officials that the abuse began shortly after he “got out of school for this corona thing.” G. spent two weeks locked in a shed in Lira’s backyard after, according to her, he “stole” food. His hands were zip-tied and there were rats and insects in the shed. He was only fed once a day. He was not permitted to come into the house and had to use a plastic bag as a toilet. Lira also kicked him and sprayed him with a hose instead of allowing him to bathe.
The abuse came to light when Juan Vaquero, Lira’s tenant who rented a camper in their backyard, rescued him. Vaquero had previously given G. food when G. was hungry. Vaquero heard G. calling him, found him confined to the shed, and called the authorities. Lira and Balderas were charged with child endangerment.
Date: May 10, 2020
Location: Dallas, Texas