HOUSTON — A child’s skeletal remains and three other children who were apparently abandoned were found in a Texas apartment on Sunday, authorities said.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said a 15-year-old called to report his 9-year-old brother had been dead for a year and was inside the home. The teen told authorities that his deceased brother was in the room next to his.

“Very horrific situation out here, very tragic,” said Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. “Been in this business for a long time, and I had never heard of a scenario like this. It really caught me by surprise.”

Deputies found the body as well as the teen and two other siblings ages 10 and 7.

Calling the case “heartbreaking,” Gonzalez said the children “appeared malnourished and showed signs of physical injury.”

He said the three surviving children were taken to a hospital to be assessed and treated.

The sheriff said it appears the surviving children were fending for each other and that the parents had not lived in the apartment for several months.

The children’s mother and her boyfriend were later located and were being questioned.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.