Prosecutors say a 7-year-old child’s adoptive parents grew tired of the boy allegedly stealing snacks, leading up to his murder.
Troy Khoeler’s body was found in a washing machine at his home in Spring after he disappeared in July.
His adoptive parents, Jemaine and Tiffany Thomas, were arrested on Tuesday. Their charges were read in probable cause court early Wednesday morning.
Jemaine appeared before a judge and his bond was set at $2 million. He’s charged with capital murder.
Tiffany did not appear because the judge said she’s suicidal. Her injury to a child by omission charge was still read, however. Her bond was set at $150,000.
It’s been nearly four months since the adoptive parents first reported their 7-year-old son missing on July 28 from their home in the 4400 block of Rosegate in Spring’s Birnamwood subdivision.
After a search of their home, deputies found Troy fully clothed in a top-load washing machine, located in the garage.
The 42-year-old father initially told investigators that when he got home from work that morning, Troy was gone. But detectives said he and his wife’s statements didn’t add up.
According to police paperwork, investigators have surveillance video showing Troy playing hide-and-seek by himself on the front lawn the night before he was murdered.
Documents said it appears Troy never left the house, and he wasn’t missing at all.
The medical examiner determined that Troy suffered from being beaten, suffocated and possibly drowned.
Investigators extracted text messages from Tiffany and Jemaine’s cell phones.
Court paperwork said Tiffany texted Jemaine that she “Threatened to put (Troy) in the stove and turn it on,” until the little boy finally came clean about eating her oatmeal cream pie cookies.
Some of the text messages from Jemaine to Tiffany graphically describe how Jemaine said he was going to kill the 7-year-old.
The court paperwork said Jemaine allegedly covered Troy’s mouth and nose with an unknown object, submerging him under water.
Bond conditions were set for the couple. Should they bond out, both Jemaine and Tiffany can’t come into contact with anyone under 17. They’ll both have to wear GPS monitors, too.
“His death was ruled a homicide due to homicidal violence. The autopsy found the complainant had suffered from asphyxiation, possible drowning. The complainant suffered both remote and new blunt-force trauma that was indicative of inflicted trauma,” officials read in court.
Texas CPS confirmed to Eyewitness News that Troy was a foster child, who was adopted by the family in 2019. CPS added that the family has history with the agency, but exact details were not immediately disclosed.