SPLENDORA, Texas -- Two children found living in a stench-filled abandoned school bus in a Houston suburb are in the custody of state child welfare workers, officials said Thursday.

Wednesday morning, a postal worker discovered the siblings, ages 11 and 5, in the bus in a trash-covered lot in Splendora, about 35 miles northeast of Houston, officials said. Their parents are believed to be in prison for embezzling money from Hurricane Ike victims in 2008. The children are not enrolled at local schools.

The bus appeared to have electricity, an air-conditioning unit and bunk beds. But several neighbors told the Houston Chronicle that the children typically looked unkempt and could often be seen running around at night.

"They always had dirty clothes on [and] no shoes, even in the winter," said nearby resident Gayla Payne, who said the 11-year-old girl told her daughter that she bathes twice a week.

Investigators told KTRK-TV that the children have been living in the bus since the beginning of the year.

The children told Texas Child Protective Services workers that they were home-schooled. A woman on the property, believed to be the children's great-aunt, told them she worked 12-hour shifts Monday through Friday but that she stayed with the children at night.

The children are in foster care pending an investigation by Child Protective Services, according to agency spokeswoman Gwen Carter, who said that CPS workers would appear in court to ask a judge for emergency custody. -- AP

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