HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The man accused of beating his girlfriend's son to death, and then leaving his body with his brothers to decompose in an apartment for a year, was arrested at a Buc-ee's in Luling, Texas, shortly after the murder.
Brian Coulter, 31, remains in jail on a murder charge for the death of 8-year-old Kendrick Lee. Lee's mother, Gloria Williams, is also charged in the case with injury to a child by omission, injury to a child, serious bodily injury and tampering with evidence. She is also in jail.
According to the Harris County Sheriff's Office, Coulter is believed to have beaten Lee to death in front of his three brothers the week before last Thanksgiving, which fell on Nov. 26, 2020.
ABC13 has confirmed Coulter spent some of that time in jail for a charge out of Luling, which narrows the timeline.
"The manager of Buc-ee's called dispatch and asked for a welfare check on an intoxicated male subject who they thought was possibly armed with a handgun," explained Luling Chief of Police Bill Sala in an interview with ABC13. "My officer went out there and encountered Brian Coulter, and his passenger was Gloria Williams."
Luling, a town of around 5,800, is 140 miles west of Houston along I-10.
Sala said Coulter was in the Caldwell County Jail from Nov. 23 until Nov. 29 when he bonded out.
Based on those dates and the Harris County Sheriff's Office timeline, the little boy was killed just a day or two before the arrest.
His body was left to rot in an Alief-area apartment while his brothers eventually had to fend for themselves.
On Sunday, the 15-year-old called for help. Sala said there were no children in the car at the time of the arrest, and Coulter told the officer they had been out of town.
"The timeline is disturbing," said Sala. "One of the issues was that he was tired because they had driven from Houston to San Antonio and were on their way back to Houston, so they were driving all day."
The arrest happened around 7 a.m., Sala said. The officer believed Coulter was high. He was cited for having marijuana and charged with unlawfully carrying a weapon, a .45 caliber handgun.
Williams was also cited for the drug possession but was released.
Two weeks ago, Sala said Coulter called his department demanding his gun be returned to him.
"In a highly intoxicated state, he did cuss out my administrative assistant, and she told him I would call him back, which I have not," Sala said.
Coulter's case in Luling is still pending. The police chief reflected on all that he's learned about the abandoned children, and the conditions in which they were left.
"Once you think you've seen it all, you find out you have not, and anything that happens to a child is disturbing. Beyond disturbing."