SPRING, Texas — After being questioned by detectives all day Thursday, the adoptive father of a Spring boy found dead in a washing machine was dropped off at his home.
Seven-year-old Troy Khoeler was reported missing from his home Thursday morning before he was later found dead at the same home on Rosegate Drive in the Birnam Wood subdivision, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
Troy was found in the top-load machine in the garage, an HCSO homicide detective said.
Jermaine Thomas, the adoptive father of Troy, said he could not find the 7-year-old after returning home just before midnight Wednesday. 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, I don't have my keys but I put my keys to the door handle and then it just open,” he said. “Anything else after that, I don't know."
Meanwhile, Troy's mother, who was also questioned all day Thursday, didn't want to talk when she returned home.
The Harris County Sheriff's Office said, at this time, neither is charged with a crime.
Investigators said Troy's parents called 911 early Thursday morning to report him missing. Just a few hours later, Precinct 4 deputies found his fully clothed but lifeless body inside the washing machine.
Investigators said they don't know how he died or how he ended up there. They're waiting for autopsy results from the medical examiner’s office.
"We don't know what happened, but we intend to find out," HCSO Lt. Robert Minchew said.
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.
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," Chupa said. "I mean, I've got great-grandkids, I don't know how they're coping with it. 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."