See something, say something, save our children

In 2017, there were 5588 confirmed victims of abuse and neglect in Bexar County.

Many more children continue to suffer in silence and their cases have yet to be reported.

News 4 is asking the community to step up and be part of the effort to save our children.

One of the most unforgettable cases of abuse happened in 2016 and the victims are now on the road to recovery because a neighbor did make the critical call to authorities.

When Bexar County deputies responded to the midnight call in the 8000 block of Chipping Drive in May of 2016, no one answered the door, so they went around back where they heard a toddler's desperate cry for help.

"What they saw there was about as shocking a sight as you can imagine," said Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar.

It was an unthinkable case of child abuse and neglect.

"One of the children was tied by the wrists above her head; she was tied to a door," Salazar said. "The other child was actually staked out into the yard by a chain."

2 toddlers were outside, 6 children were inside, all of them found unsupervised.

A nearby neighbor said she had heard a child crying for 2 hours.

"These kids getting the *#%& beat out of them," said neighbor Michelle Williams.

She walked down the street to call for help.

"I gave them kids a voice," Williams said.

She is passionate about having saved these childrens' lives, noting she too was abused and no one rescued her.

Voices for Children CEO, Kathy Fletcher has heard many cases where a child's death could have been prevented.

"Every time this happens, I think someone saw something, someone knew that parent, someone knew something was going on that they needed to be concerned about," Fletcher said.

Many of the children whose cries for help are answered end up at the Childrens Shelter of San Antonio.

"You never know if that call to the hotline is going to make a difference for that child," said Childrens Shelter of San Antonio Director Hector Acevedo.

If there is any doubt, you should call to report suspected child abuse and call again if necessary.

Salazar worries about the factors that could prevent someone from making the call.

"It's none of my business and I don't want to get involved or gosh, I'd hate to call and have it be nothing," Salazar said. "I would say put all of that aside. We're talking about the safety and well being and the health and the life of a child."

In the case of the toddlers chained up in the backyard late at night, time was critical.

"Seconds count in a case like this," Salazar said. "Had they not gotten the call that day at that time, who knows what would've happened the next morning."

If you have concerns about being identified, you can remain anonymous.

It is the law to report child abuse if you have a reasonable belief it is happening.

You can call 911 to report it to local law enforcement or you can call the child abuse hotline at 800-252-5400 and you can do both.

You can follow April Molina on Facebook or Twitter

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