Possible Abuse Revealed in Child’s Death


Troy Khoeler,7, was found dead in a washing machine earlier this year. | Image by ABC 7

Records from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) show it investigated instances of child abuse toward the 7-year-old found dead in a washing machine earlier this year, reported ABC 13.

In the months leading up to Troy Khoeler’s death in July, caseworkers determined there were signs of abuse, and the explanations given by the boy did not make sense with respect to his injuries.

However, despite this, DFPS found the boy safe and at a low to moderate risk of abuse.

Khoeler was found dead in a washing machine in Spring, Texas, with signs of possibly being beaten, suffocated, and drowned.

His adoptive parents, Jemaine and Tiffany Thomas, initially reported him missing. They were later charged in connection to his murder.

The prosecution alleged that there were text messages showing his adoptive father talking about killing the boy because he was stealing his snacks.

According to records obtained by ABC 13, Khoeler and his biological mother both allegedly tested positive for opiates and benzodiazepines in 2015.

Khoeler reportedly suffered from withdrawal symptoms as a result. The mother allegedly admitted to abusing drugs without a prescription.

In two separate instances, according to the records, teachers expressed concerns about bruises on Khoeler’s face. The boy said he was hit by his cousin with a toy, but there was some doubt about that.

“The child’s explanation of getting hit with the toy does not seem consistent with the injuries to both his eyes,” the report read.

The report further stated that Khoeler flinched, but it was not known whether that was because of any abuse.

Medical staff determined that the injuries he had sustained “may result from abuse or neglect but accidental/natural explanations are possible.”

Attorney Karleana Farias, who also has experience with DFPS, told ABC 13 that the vetting process for adoptive parents is her primary concern.

“This child was under the eye, and I would hope watchful eye, of a wide variety of individuals. The courts, caseworkers. The process of adoption is a complicated process that requires a lot of different people to look into the best interest of the children,” Farias said.

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