Fort Bend County couple accused in severe abuse case go to trial

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Opening arguments in horrific Ft. Bend Co. child abuse case

The opening statements in the trial of a Fort Bend County couple ended late Thursday. The trial involves a father and stepmother accused in a severe case of child abuse.

The defendants are the father of the alleged victim, Jorge Estrella Sr. and the boy's stepmother, Aide Estrella. They are accused of burning the boy and starving him, keeping him in a closet in the family's home outside Sugar Land.

Investigators say he escaped from the home on November 23, 2013. He ran to a neighbor's house and knocked on the door after crawling out of a second story window. He later told authorities his step mother had kicked him out.

RELATED: Couple accused of abusing, starving and locking up boy

The neighbor called the Sheriff's Office and the boy was taken to the hospital, where doctors said he was at "substantial risk" of death without medical intervention.

In opening statements, the defense attorneys outlined their case, saying the boy had been acting out, playing with matches, stealing food, and had an allergic reaction that caused his weight loss. They claim it was not abuse but said, "It got so bad that they took him to Mexico for treatment and they were worried about him hurting himself playing with matches."

The prosecution, in its opening statement claimed there was no underlying condition and (the boy) "gained 11 pounds in nine days when he was at Texas Children's Hospital and being properly fed."

The trial is expected to last several days.
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