Zaikiya Duncan and Jova Terrell, Cypress, Texas mother & boyfriend after 16 year old twin brother and sister escape family home in handcuffs. History of ongoing child abuse and Child Protection Services.
‘Can you help us?’ A Texas mother and her boyfriend have been arrested after a 16 year old twin brother and his sister escaped a Cypress household where they were subjected to ongoing horrors and child abuse.
Their mother, Zaikiya Duncan, 40, and her boyfriend, Jova Terrell, 27, are being charged with injury to a child in Harris County. They were taken into custody Tuesday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after fleeing with five of her other children and triggering an Amber Alert. They are currently awaiting transport back KSLA reported.
The Harris County Precinct 5 Constable’s Office said the 16-year-old twin boy and girl went door-to-door in the neighborhood where they lived, looking for help early in the morning.
It is not known how many doors they knocked on before they ended up at the home of a woman in the next neighborhood at 5:30 a.m.
Doorbell surveillance caught the twins asking, ‘Can you help us?’ in handcuffs.
Hadn’t eaten for over a week
‘When they came inside, they were like, ‘We are not here to hurt you,” the woman who chose to remain anonymous told media.
‘She was shaking with her handcuffs. She was like, ‘We are looking for help. We just need help. We just broke out of our handcuffs. Our mom had us handcuffed in the laundry room,’ the woman recalled the teens saying.
The woman said the teens told her they were starving and had not eaten in more than a week. The woman gave them a snack and she said they ate everything she put in front of them.
The woman, an ICU nurse, photographed the wounds on their body. Their wrists were cut from the handcuffs. She noticed scarring on their wrists.
‘The little girl was complaining that she couldn’t even close her hand because her hand just felt so tight and swollen from her trying to tug and pull off the handcuffs,’ the woman said.
They told her about the abuse they endured inside their home, she said, and did not hold back any details.
The twins told her they tried to escape the day before, but their mother caught them and locked them back up.
Prior child abuse and Child Protection Services involvement
‘They complained about feeling stiff from being in just one position in the laundry room,’ the woman said.
The woman in turn called police who arrived shortly after where they took the twins for treatment. By the time police arrived at the twins family home, Zaikiya Duncan and her boyfriend, Jova Terrell along with 5 other children were gone, prompting an Amber alert before the mother and boyfriend’s eventual capture later that day in Louisiana.
Child Protective Services in Texas said they had not been involved with the family before. Louisiana’s Department of Child and Family Services, where they were from, had been and had at least one documented case of abuse from 2012, according to court records.
Court documents cited by KHOU-11 tell of Duncan being the center of an investigation after a five year old of the mother’s being taken to a school clinic and then local hospital where it was determined the child had suffered injuries comprobable to having hot water poured on them.
The child was noted to have suffered burns to both feet, genitalia, buttocks, along with bruises on the upper body and abrasions. When cops went to the child’s residence, they found a 20 month old infant wrapped up in clothing with his hands bound under the clothing. The only other person in the residence at the time was a 4 year old male sibling.
During questioning, Duncan stated that she and the co defendant routinely disciplined the victim by making the victim get in the push up position for periods of one hour which caused the child’s hands to swell.
‘Everything seemed normal, we didn’t suspect anything…’
But there’s more.
The report also noted the victim regularly being fired to sleep on a closet floor. Boards were placed in front of the closet floor to keep the victim from ‘escaping’ and ‘stealing’ food from the kitchen.
Interviewed neighbors said Duncan and Terrell and the children had only moved into the area a week ago, with one of the children attending school with other neighbor’s children.
‘Everything seemed normal, we didn’t suspect anything at all.’ a parent told FOX.
Duncan and Terrell were expected to be transported back to Harris County on Thursday. It remained unclear what would happen to the couple’s five other children.
The twins remain hospitalized suffering bruising and malnourishment. Not immediately clear was the extent of abuse and malcontent that they endured and what led to the horror mistreatment.