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Homeless couple reportedly caring for child in a tent

By Jerry Najera, Multimedia Journalist
Published On: Jan 02 2013 04:58:24 AM CST
Updated On: Jan 14 2014 09:26:20 PM CST

Viewer calls ABC-7 and reports helping a homeless couple with a child. He tells ABC-7 he's concerned for their welfare.

El Paso, Texas -

Modesto Cortez tells ABC-7 he ran into a family living in a tent off of Loop 375 on El Paso's East side.

Cortez told ABC-7 he was very concerned because there was a young child living with them and with these cold temps it just didn't seem right.

"I was coming down the road and I noticed a couple pushing a heavy vehicle," said Cortez.

Cortez decided to be a good Samaritan, help out and give them a boost but something caught his eye.

"I noticed there was a tent," said Cortez.

Cortez asked them if they were living in there and the couple told him 'yes,' and that they had been homeless for about six months.

Cortez tells ABC-7 it shocked him because they were in there early twenties, but before Cortez left, "I heard a kids voice, he also said 'thank you.' I don't know if it was a male or female and I said wow, they have a kid inside the vehicle," said Cortez.

Cortez said the child was around 5 years old.

ABC-7's Gerardo Najera found the campsite and interviewed 21-year-old Louis Lopez.

"Someone called us and told us you guys have been living here for a while and you guys have a little kid in there," said Najera.

Lopez didn't hesitate to talk with Najera but it didn't start well.

"If you can pardon me, I think I need to throw up, I think I'm sick," said Lopez.

Lopez started throwing up after the first question.

Lopez tells ABC-7 he lives in the tent with a couple and the child is someone else's.

Najera asks Lopez about the child, "he's not here right now?" "No, he's not here right now," said Lopez.

Najera asked Lopez about the child allegedly staying there and he confirmed it.

"We're just having him with us temporarily," said Lopez.

Lopez told Najera a lady who lends them a vehicle, lets her kid stay with them.

"He stays out here in the tent?, asked Najera. "Sometimes he spends the night," says Lopez.

Lopez tells ABC-7 the child is not in any danger.

"Ah no, he just spends the night with us sometimes, if it were to be extremely cold we wouldn't keep him with us," said Lopez.

Lopez told ABC-7, "He's being treated well he doesn't go through nothing bad with us. If it were to be extremely cold we wouldn't keep him with us."

For Cortez, it was encounter that left him emotional.

"It was very touching for me, I continued down the road and my tears came down," said Cortez.

Cortez tells ABC-7 the last time he saw the child and the couple they were going out to go panhandle.

After the interview, ABC-7 got in contact with an El Paso Police department spokesman who sent a officer to go investigate the situation.

Child Protective Services tell ABC-7 a report needs to be filed, they would need to do a risk assessment on the child's care and if  in fact the child is being neglected.

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