Neighbors Haunted After Texas Children Found Chained in Backyard: 'Why Didn't We Know Sooner?'

Texas Children Chained in Backyard: Neighbor Asks, 'Why Didn't We Know Sooner?'
Porucha Phillips
Courtesy Bear County Sheriff's Office

05/04/2016 AT 03:00 PM EDT

Neighbors of Porucha Phillips, the Texas woman arrested after deputies discovered two children allegedly chained in her backyard, tells PEOPLE they are shocked and saddened about the turn of events.

Phillips was arrested on April 28 after deputies from the Bexar County Sheriff's Office received a call about a baby crying for a long time, according to officials. They discovered eight unattended children, including the two in the backyard.

"It makes me angry as a person and sad as a father," Neighbor Chris Tippery, 34, tells PEOPLE. Tippery adds that he doesn't understand how anyone could harm a child.

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The children were taken to the Children's Hospital of San Antonio where they are being treated for "a variety of issues," sheriff's department officials said in a statement. All eight children are in the custody of Child Protective Services.

Tippery, his wife, Chaz Gee, 33, and their three children have lived on the same street as Phillips since October. The couple never saw any signs of neglect, but Tippery recalls hearing a baby cry late at night.

"We thought it was someone soothing their baby to sleep, not harming their baby," says Tippery.

Gee would see Phillips sitting outside on her porch, but that she never saw all eight children. She was shaken when she saw news reports of Phillips's arrest and that she asked herself, "Why didn't we know sooner?"

Phillips is charged with Injury to a Child by Omission with Serious Bodily Injury. Information on whether she has retained an attorney was unavailable as of press time. She will next appear in court on June 8, when she will enter a plea. She is being held on $150,000 bond.

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