Every day, we’re faced with decisions. While some are easy, others are quite difficult. We always think we’d do the right thing if we experienced something bad but sometimes, that’s harder than expected. For one man, he knew what he had to do and thank goodness he made the correct choice.
Hearing something odd
Juan Vaquero, age 54, lives in Dallas, Texas in a camper located in a couple’s backyard. Living inside the house is his landlord, Esmeralda Lira, and her boyfriend, Jose Balderas. She’s also a grandmother to three grandchildren, aged 4, 6, and 7. One Sunday night as Vaquero returned home, he heard the strangest thing yet it sounded so familiar.
Then he knew
It didn’t take long for Vaquero to recognize the sound. It was his landlord’s 6-year-old grandson. As he continued listening, he realized the small child was calling out to him. But still, he didn’t understand what was going on.
A regular house guest
This little boy was often at his grandparent’s house so hearing his voice didn’t seem too strange…at first. After all, with his camper nearby, it wasn’t out of the ordinary for him to talk to the child. But this seemed different.
They appeared to be good people
Esmeralda Lira and her boyfriend, from whom the man rented the camper appeared to be just any normal couple. But on this particular night, Vaquero was about to discover something that shook him to the core.
Searching in the dark
By the time Vaquero came home, it was already pitch-black outside. So, he could only hear the boy but not see him. To find out what was going on, he turned on his cell phone flashlight. From there, he began to search for the child.
As Vaquero got closer and closer to the sound of the boy’s voice, that’s when he realized it was coming from inside a shed located behind his camper. But that wasn’t what bothered him. The shed was padlocked with the child inside.
Vaquero knew what he saw yet he felt confused. Why on earth was this 6-year-old boy locked inside the shed? Thinking quickly, he turned on his phone’s recorder and began gathering evidence as he spoke to the child from the outside.
What he heard made him feel sick
From the conversation, Vaquero learned this boy had been locked inside the shed since 6:00 pm that night, hours earlier. He then asked him who put him in the shed to which the child replied his grandmother. He pressed further to find out why?
The boy revealed more information
Come to find out, Vaquero had at one point given the child a pillow and blanket since he didn’t have them. That upset his grandmother and ever since then, she’d been extra mean to him. Inside, the shed, the boy had nothing but a box to sit on. But then things took a turn for the worse.
His hands were tied
The child said his grandmother didn’t want him to grab things anymore so she tied his hands. The boy also hadn’t had anything to eat since that morning. Although Vaquero offered to bring him a sandwich and Jell-O, he explained he couldn’t eat them since his hands were tied behind his back.
Vaquero then asked him if he meant like how police handcuff criminals and the boy said, “yes” although his hands were tied with shoelaces.
He’d heard enough
After telling the boy he’d be back, Vaquero called the police. When they arrived at 11:00 p.m. they discovered a 4 and 7-year-old inside the house. When asked about the 6-year-old, the grandmother said he was with his mom. That’s when Vaquero pointed the cops in the direction of the shed.
Reluctantly, the grandmother gave the officers the key to open it. There, they found the boy just as he said…in the dark, with only a box, and his hands tied behind his back. Thankfully, both Lira and Balderas were arrested for child endangerment. During the formal investigation, the officials discovered this wasn’t the first time the boy had been locked in the shed.
His grandmother had done this for the past two weeks. The boy was simply hungry and trying to find food, which made Lira mad. For Vaquero, that explained why this child often came to his camper asking for a snack. Now in protective custody, the boy and his siblings are safe.
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