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7-year-old boy found dead inside washing machine in Spring home, HCSO says

Seven-year-old Troy Khoeler had been missing for a few hours before his body was found. Deputies later found his body in the top-load washing machine in the garage.

A little boy reported missing by his parents in Spring was later found dead inside a washing machine in their home Thursday morning, according to the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

Seven-year-old Troy Khoeler had been missing for a few hours from the home on Rosegate Drive in the Birnam Wood subdivision, according to Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman. 

Troy was found in the top-load machine in the garage of the same home he was reported missing from, an HCSO homicide detective said at the scene. 

Investigators wouldn't comment on whether there was water inside the machine or whether the lid was closed, but did say Troy was clothed.

"We don't know what happened, but we intend to find out," HCSO Lt. Robert Minchew said. 

The boy's body was found by Precinct 4 deputies when they searched the house. The boy's parents were taken in for questioning which is standard procedure, according to Minchew.

He wouldn't comment on whether there were any injuries or signs of foul play, and said it's too soon to determine if it was an accident.

"Whether he was killed by the washing machine or killed and placed in it, we're just so far from that, I can't comment," Minchew said.

WATCH: Full HCSO news conference

The parents told investigators Troy first turned up missing around 4 a.m., according to Minchew. 

They reported it to the constable's office at about 5:20 a.m. After questioning the parents, deputies searched the neighborhood, but didn't find any sign of Troy. That's when they did a more thorough search of the house.

Troy lived in the home with both parents and no other siblings. Minchew said he had been a foster child and was adopted by the couple in 2019.

He said the boy's mother was wearing a work uniform but he doesn't know yet if she had returned from work to find the boy missing or if she was getting ready for work. 

A spokesperson with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said "CPS does have history with the family."

A neighbor, who's lived on the street for more than 40 years, said he'd often seen Troy playing in the neighborhood. Rudy Chupa was surprised when he learned the child's body had been found. 

"It's bad, I mean, I've got great-grandkids, I don't know how they're coping with it," Chupa said. "It shouldn't happen to anybody. Wow. 

Troy attended Spring ISD. Thursday afternoon, the district released the following statement:

Spring ISD is deeply saddened about the tragic passing of our student, Troy Khoeler. The Harris County Pct. 4 Constable's Office and Harris County Sheriff's Office are currently investigating the case. His death represents a great loss for our district, and we are providing ongoing counseling and grief services for students and staff members impacted by this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. 

KHOU 11's Matt Dougherty spoke with the adoptive father of the 7-year-old Thursday night.

"I came home, just like I'm going to walk in that door right now, I don't have my keys, but, I put my key in the door and the door, but anything else after that, I don't know," he said.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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What to do when someone goes missing

Thousands of people go missing every year across the United States, and there are organizations and law enforcement agencies that work to bring them home to loved ones.

The Texas Center for the Missing is an organization with Houston roots that works to educate loved ones and authorities on finding the lost. 

From resources that deal with missing children to endangered adults, the non-profit organization has compiled a wealth of resources to help. 

There is no 24-hour waiting period required to report a person missing, according to the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

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