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CPS records show boy found dead in washing machine had tough life from birth

Prosecutors said Tiffany and Jermaine Thomas had a "deep hatred" for their adopted son. CPS records show the child may have tried to cover for them when he was hurt.

HOUSTON — A Children's Protective Services report obtained by KHOU 11 News paints a heartbreaking picture of the life of a little boy found dead in his family's Spring home.

The battered body of 7-year-old Troy Khoeler was found in a washing machine in July after his parents reported him missing.

Editor's note: The video above originally aired in November.

Jemaine and Tiffany Thomas, his adoptive parents, were arrested and charged on Nov. 15 after Troy's death was ruled a homicide. He's charged with capital murder and she's charged with injury to a child by omission.

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said an autopsy showed that Troy suffered new and old injuries before his body was found. Court documents revealed the horror the child endured before his death. They included text messages that said the mother threatened to put him in the oven and the father threatened to hang him from a tree.

Even so, CPS records show Troy may have covered up for his parents when caseworkers questioned him about past injuries.

CPS timeline on Troy Khoeler 

2015: The odds were stacked against Troy from the day he was born with opiates and benzodiazepines in his system. His biological mother admitted to abusing hydrocodone and Xanax during her pregnancy, according to CPS. She agreed to participate in services, while the biological father did not.

Troy was hospitalized for “failure to thrive” and eventually removed from his biological parents and placed in a foster home. The foster parents, his accused killers, eventually adopted him.

January 2022: CPS received a report of Troy having bruising around his eyes. Troy said his cousin hit him with a toy, but that wasn’t consistent with the injuries, according to the report.

Troy also had a black eye two months earlier that he and his adoptive mother, Tiffany Thomas, said was from a fall, CPS records show. His parents said a burn mark on his back was from a family gathering in 2020.

Medical staff could not determine whether the injuries were from neglect or accidental.

The parents were provided with information on resources. CPS said family members and Troy's school said they would monitor and report concerns.

CPS determined the "risk assessment" was safe and the case was closed.

March 2022: CPS received another report of bruising on Troy's face from a school nurse. They also found a fingernail imprint on his neck and a scratch on his cheek. Troy gave different stories and said the injuries were from falling on concrete, carpet or grass, or his cousin pushed him.

Both parents also blamed the cousin.

Troy told CPS that his father tried to break his school-issued Chromebook, according to the report.

After the family was provided services, CPS determined the "risk assessment" was moderate and the case was closed in May.

July 28, 2022: Months later, Troy's body was found stuffed in a washing machine.

'Deep hatred'

WARNING: The details revealed below are graphic.

Court documents revealed new details and said the couple had a "deep hatred" for the little boy they adopted.

According to court documents, Troy’s adoptive father intentionally and knowingly caused the 7-year-old’s death by submerging his nose and mouth underwater and hitting him with an unknown object.

Court documents also said the boy’s adoptive mother intentionally and knowingly caused bodily injury by hitting Troy against an unknown object.

When deputies pulled the little boy from the washing machine, his arms and legs were warm, but his body was cold, according to court documents. They also noticed blood around his nose and a large bump on his forehead over the right eye.

Deputies noted that the boy’s clothing was damp and there was an odor of urine coming from the body. His pants also had been pulled down to his knees, exposing bruises to his upper legs.

Deputies spotted blood stains on a door frame in the kitchen and a cardboard box lid in the kitchen.

Investigators reviewed a text message thread between the couple, which revealed that the adoptive mother threatened Troy by telling him she was going to “put him in the stove and turn it on” if he did not admit to eating her oatmeal crème pies. The adoptive father responded, “I need to get the (locks). I’m going to end up kill(ing) him. You going to come home and he(s) going to be hang(ing) from the tree outside.”

Another message from Jemaine Thomas said, “I’m for not doing (expletive) for his birthday. I’m so sick of this boy. Like, I’m really tired of him and don’t want him in this house no more.”

Court documents also revealed that there were two investigations by CPS prior to Troy's death. The investigations were initiated by school employees who spotted suspicious injuries, including blackened eyes and facial bruising.

What happened

On July 28, Khoeler was reported missing from his home before he was later found dead at that same home on Rosegate Drive in the Birnam Wood subdivision in Spring.

Investigators said the Thomases called 911 in the early morning hours on July 28 to report him missing.

Jemaine Thomas said he could not find the 7-year-old after returning home just before midnight the night before. That’s when he said he noticed his front door was unlocked.

"It's just that I came home, I was fixin’ to walk in the door, like right now," he said. "I don't have my keys but I put my keys to the door handle and then it just opened. Anything else after that, I don't know."

Just a few hours later, Precinct 4 deputies found Troy's fully-clothed and lifeless body inside the washing machine.

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