HOUSTON (KIAH) — The adoptive parents of a young boy who was found dead in a washing machine in July are facing capital murder charges.
Troy Khoeler, 7, was reported missing in late July by Tiffany Thomas. Troy was initially a foster child who Tiffany and Jermaine Thomas later adopted.
Authorities searched for Troy for several hours until finding his body in the top-load washing machine in the garage of a home in Spring, Texas, just outside of Houston.
After speaking with Tiffany and Jermaine, authorities determined Troy was home alone for roughly six hours the day he was reported missing. Jermaine told authorities he couldn’t find Troy when he returned home from work that day, but Troy was ultimately not reported missing for nearly five hours. But when Troy was initially reported missing, authorities were told it had been roughly two to three hours since he was last seen, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
Jermaine and Tiffany Thomas were arrested this week after an autopsy lead forensics to rule the boy’s death a homicide, the Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday.
According to the medical examiner, Troy was beaten, suffocated, and possibly drowned. He suffered “new and previous injuries” as well, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.
Jermaine Thomas was charged with capital murder, while Tiffany Thomas faces injury to a child by omission. Jermaine’s bail was set at $2 million, while Tiffany had a $150,000 bail set.
Texts obtained by investigators allegedly showed Tiffany had texted Jermaine to explain that she threatened to put Troy “in the stove and turn it on” until the 7-year-old admitted to eating some snacks. Additional texts from Jermaine revealed he was upset about the boy eating snacks. He wrote “I’m going to end up kill(ing) him,” according to another Houston outlet.
Texas Child Protective Services told local news outlets that they had investigated the boy being physically abused twice within the last year.