Texas authorities are searching for four suspects in connection with what they say was a horrific torture of a 7-year-old boy during a home invasion, officials said.
The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office received a phone call early Monday morning detailing a robbery at a Richard home involving three masked suspects, according to a press release issued.
Upon entering, the suspects held the boy in the bathtub while demanding cash from the homeowner, authorities said.
The suspects filled a tub in the home with hot water and “repeatedly” dunked the boy in the water, pulled him out, and demanded to know where money in the house was hidden, Fort Bend County Public Information Officer Caitilin Espinosa told ABC News.
Surveillance video from the home’s kitchen captured the audio of the torture, Espinosa said.
“Its horrific to listen to,” she said, adding that the audio indicates that the suspects were in the home for about 40 minutes. The sheriff’s office will not be releasing that footage, she said.
Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls said at a press conference on Tuesday that even law enforcement officers were stunned by the brutality of the attack.
“Just horrible to think that we have three individuals out there that are trying to make a little extra money, and they’re gonna do that to a young man like that? A child? How dare you,” Nehls said at the press conference.
In one image taken inside the home and released by authorities, one of the suspects can be seen grabbing onto the boy.
In a second surveillance video released by authorities, the suspects can be seen walking up the home’s driveway.
The suspects made off with jewelry, cash, cellphones and car keys, ABC Houston station KTRK reported. Three of the suspects entered the home, and one suspect was the getaway driver, according to authorities.
The boy was taken to a local hospital, where he was treated for water in his lungs, authorities said. He has since been released, according to Espinosa.
The father was also injured when the suspects struck him, according to authorities. Investigators believe he may have been targeted because he owns a business, Espinosa said.
Nehls described the incident as “the worst kind of crime against a family,” calling the suspects cowards.
“Three crooks forcing their way into a home in the middle of the night is appalling,” he said in a statement. “To make matters worse, they accosted a 7-year-old child.”
One suspect was seen on surveillance wearing a black vintage Air Jordan men’s hoodie with white lettering spelling out “Jordan” on the sleeves, and another suspect was seen wearing red sneakers believed to be Jordan basketball shoes, officials said.
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of $25,000 for information leading to an arrest. Authorities are asking anyone who recognizes them to contact them.