The foster father of a seven-year-old boy found dead in the family’s washing machine last week has said he came home to find their house unlocked just before the body was discovered.
Jermaine Thomas, who reported his adopted son Troy Khoeler missing in the small hours on Thursday morning, told local news reporters that the door to the house was unlocked when he returned there just before midnight on Wednesday evening.
Police in Spring, Texas said they received the missing persons call around 5.20am, and found Troy’s body inside the top-loading washing machine at the family’s rented home around 6am.
County sheriffs spent all day questioning Mr Thomas and the boy’s foster mother before releasing both without any charges on Thursday evening.
“It’s just that, I came home, I was fixin’ to walk in the door like right now, I don’t have my keys, but I put my key in the door and then the door opened,” Mr Thomas told KHOU 11. “Anything else after that, I don’t know.”
Asked if the door was unlocked already when he found it, Mr Thomas added: “Yeah. But, I dunno.”
Troy’s foster mother declined to speak to reporters.
Police had announced no charges or arrests as of Friday morning and were still investigating the cause of Troy’s death.
“We don’t know what happened, but we intend to find out,” Lt Robert Minchew said. “Whether he was killed by the washing machine or killed and placed in it, we’re just so far from that. I can’t comment.”
He confirmed that Troy was fully clothed when they found him but did not give details, including if there was water inside the machine or if the lid was shut.
The boy’s father was at home at the time his mother returned from a night shift at a hospital and was still in uniform when police arrived.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, known as CPS, told KHOU 11: “CPS does have history with the family.”
It declined to give any further details.