The children, aged 15, 10 and 7, have now been rescued by welfare authorities. Police said the fourth child could possibly be their sibling.
They had been living at the apartment in “deplorable conditions”, according to county sheriff Ed Gonzalez, who addressed a press conference on Sunday to inform the media about the children.
“A very horrific situation out here, very tragic,” Mr Gonzalez said, describing the case. “I’ve been in this business a long time and I had never heard of a scenario like this. It really caught me by surprise.”
He added that the children were inside the apartment on their own for “quite a long time” and appeared to have been living there when the body of the fourth child decomposed into a skeleton.
“It seems that they were in there while the body was deteriorating,” he said.
The cause of the death of the fourth child is unknown. The police officer also said they will work with the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences to determine the dead child’s identity.
The authorities had on Sunday received information for a welfare cheque by an unknown caller who requested them to check the apartment at City Parc II in West Harris county. The sheriff said this person did not reveal their identity.
When officials arrived at the apartment, they saw minors living in the residence without the care or supervision of an adult, while the skeleton of the fourth child was lying in the open.
According to HCSO 3 children found abandoned in West Harris County - skeletal remains also found. On the scene of 3500 block of Green Crest near Addicks-Clodine and Westpark Tollway. @KHOU pic.twitter.com/kkz9HM9vbS
— Zack Tawatari (@zacktKHOU) October 24, 2021
It is not clear yet where the parents of the children are. Mr Gonzalez said police have been attempting to find the children’s next of kin. Some media reports said the police located the children’s mother and boyfriend, who were being interviewed.
The sheriff said the children were taking care of each other.
“It appears they were basically fending for each other. The older sibling was doing the best she could to take care of the others,” Mr Gonzalez said. “Our hearts break for those three.”