Teen found bound near house fire

December 5, 2008 4:04:07 PM PST
Firefighters called to battle a house fire found something unexpected, to say the least. A teenager nearby was bound by his hands and feet. It's a mystery investigators are still trying to solve.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The bizarre story has been unfolding throughout the day at the scene on Arncliffe near Challie in northwest Houston. Late Friday afternoon, the 15-year-old boy told authorities he tied himself up, and he was not the victim of a kidnapping. The teen apparently did that because he didn't want to tell his parents where he had been since Tuesday.

Ruben Valdes walked out of his home Friday morning when he saw his neighbor's home on fire. He turned to the side and saw something even more disturbing.

"I saw like, someone lying horizontally on the ground, and legs over there," he recalled. "I thought, 'Oh my goodness! What's that?' But before I went to investigate, a fireman was walking right by me, so I told him first. Then he went and told them and they went over and took care of it."

The boy was found in a grassy area, lying on the ground with his feet and hands tied. The field is just beyond the back yard of the house where firefighters had been called to fight a fire. The fire broke out around 10am. No one was at home at the time of the fire. Authorities, though, are investigating whether the fire was intentionally set.

Sgt. Belinda Null with the Houston Police Department explained, "We still do not know the connection with this house yet. We're investigating that, and if the arson is at all tied to this. We don't know that either."

Sgt. Null also said authorities aren't sure if the child was a victim of sexual assault. The boy was reported missing by his parents on Tuesday. Police have been trying to sort out the truth. They still consider the 15-year-old boy a victim, and they're still investigating to see if a crime has occurred. The boy has been taken to Texas Children's Hospital to be checked out by doctors.

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