Authorities removed eight children—two of whom had been restrained like dogs in the backyard—from a San Antonio home late Thursday night, the AP reports. Their parents were nowhere to be found. According to KSAT, an anonymous woman called 911 shortly before midnight to report a child crying for hours. She suspected abuse. Sheriff's deputies got no answer at the door, but spotted two children in the backyard. A 2-year-old boy was tethered to the ground with a metal chain strapped around his ankle. And a 3-year-old girl was tied to a door with a dog leash. "It's sickening," the AP quotes a sheriff's office spokesperson as saying. "To call this horrific would be an understatement."
Six other children—ranging in age from 10 months to 13 years—were found inside the home. All eight were placed with Child Protective Services, News 4 San Antonio reports. The mother of the six children found inside the home, 34-year-old Porucha Phillips, returned home Friday morning and was arrested. She's facing multiple charges of injury to a child by omission, and more charges are expected. Authorities believe Phillips was supposed to be taking care of the two children in the backyard, and their parents are being sought. The children found in the backyard were hospitalized with a number of maladies, including a broken arm. Authorities believe they had been restrained for some time. "I hope those people never get their kids back," a neighbor tells News 4. "I hope they have to think about this for the rest of their lives." (Read more child abuse stories.)