"I just don't see how the kid was eating at all. He would go to where my wife works and we would just buy him hamburgers and french fries." That's how apartment maintenance worker Dayton Thompson describes the help of neighbors. But with nothing else, the boy struggled to make do.
"He had to eat out of the cans. He had to cut it with a knife -- just anything where he could eat and stay warm," he says.
The boy's mother and her boyfriend moved to Smith County near Garden Valley just four months ago. The bills went unpaid, so there's been no water of power for three of those months.
The mother worked for a time for Jonni Morris at a near by truck stop.
"Maybe about three weeks after she was hired, I could tell that her work performance started to go down, and she was just skitzy," says Morris.
Neighbor Tia Thompson: "She got a child support check for $600 and took off for week and a half, and came back twice since then."
Authortities suspect drugs are involved in the mother's erratic behavior. Well over a week ago, was when the boy last saw his mother.
"She dropped him off and said that she'd be back in two weeks -- that where she was staying in Tyler, he was not allowed to stay there," Morris says.
Neighbors say they hoped the mother would return, and let the young man shower and offered food.
"He was always scared and worried about his mom, and he wanted her to be back around, and he never knew where she was and what she was doing or how to get a hold of her," says Tia Thompson.
Where the mother is is still an unanswered question, despite the boy wanting his mom around... neighbors say she made the decision to abandon.
"I hope she ends up in jail personally. I hope he ends up safe, and finds someone who can actually love him and take care of him," says next door neighbor Rebecca Munn.