HOUSTON -- It s an image that breaks your heart, but stepmother Tammie Bleimeyer says she s not responsible for a severely underweight young boy.
I was shocked, Bleimeyer told KHOU 11 News during an exclusive interview. I have never seen him look like that and I have never seen him with his shirt off recently.
The pregnant mother of six is charged with felony child endangerment in connection with the condition of the five-year-old.
Not just because police found him last Friday underweight, but also because the boy was allegedly forced to live in a closet under her stairs. Police say he was also found with bumps and bruises.
Her husband, the boy s biological father, Bradley Bleimeyer, is facing the same charges.
They were arrested Friday at a motel located in the 9700 block of W FM 1960 Bypass in Humble. Police believe the couple fled there with the child.
I think the story has gotten very twisted. There have been things added to it. Things changed. There s a lot of lies out there, said Bleimeyer.
The 33-year-old agreed to speak with KHOU because she wanted to set the record straight.
First, she says she didn t take the young boy to the hotel.
He (Bradley Bleimeyer) called me and asked me to come by so we brought some pizza, she said. He was actually eating pizza when the police arrived.
She also says her husband wasn t hiding.
No. He was just in the hotel. He was just staying there because he wasn t living at my house, claims Bleimeyer.
In addition, she says she and her husband aren t living together. They have been separated since last summer.
In fact, she claims the father and son live in Alabama rather than her house in Spring.
She says she doesn t know why he is so skinny.
I have never seen him look like that and I have never seen him with his shirt off recently, she said.
Last Thursday they were in town visiting at her home when a fist fight broke out between Bradley and her 16-year-old son.
The teen told police the fight started after he found the child in his diaper in a closet under the stairs.
Police were called and she claims the teen lied to investigators about allegations of abuse.
There is an age difference between them that is not very great. They are close in age and he doesn t respect him as a father, she said referring to their eight year age difference.
As far as the allegations of the five-year-old sleeping under the stairs she claims they aren t true.
It s a small square space that slants down at the stairs so it get smaller, she said.
KHOU: Could a child fit in there?
Bleimeyer: They could if it was empty, but it s not now.
She says the young boy had a room and slept in a bunk bed.
Her attorney says she s been trying to tell her story to investigators.
We have no idea why these allegations are being made. CPS (Child Protective Services) has known we are involved in this, said attorney James Hedlesten.
Tuesday, Bleimeyer filed for divorce from her husband of a little more than two years.
But, she is not convinced that her soon to be ex-husband is responsible for the boy s condition.
I don t know what caused him to look like that. I don t know if it s a health issue or something else like that, she said. I don t want to be like everyone else and assume the worse.
According to Mrs. Bleimeyer s other attorney, Julie Ketterman, she still has custody of her other children, but has voluntarily placed them with relatives.
A hearing will be set soon.
Estella Olguin with CPS says you can donate items or money to the little boy by dropping them off at their office located at 2525 Murworth Drive in Houston, or you can donate to all the children in need by visiting their website.
This organization BEAR which is a non-profit helps these children and in turn they're helping case workers who don't have to dig into their own pockets to buy all the items, said Olguin.
KHOU viewer Suzannah Gale has been in touch with the little boy's biological mother. She has created a Facebook page with information about clothing sizes and donation sites. Click here for more information.