CYPRESS, Texas — A teenager who told Texas police he and his twin sister were handcuffed and suffered horrific abuse escaped the family home after finding a handcuff key and stashing it in his mouth, say authorities in court records.
The twins, barefoot and handcuffed, were seen on doorbell video as they sought help in a Cypress neighborhood just outside of Houston. The video, obtained by Houston television station KHOU, showed the teens going door to door around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday as they sought help.
The boy was shirtless and the girl only wore a plastic grocery bag around her neck as a shirt, according to an affidavit.
The woman who let them in told Houston TV station KTRK that the teenagers told her, “We’re not here to hurt you.”
“She was shaking with her handcuffs on,” the woman, who was not named in the story, said of the girl. “She was like, ‘We’re looking for help. We just need help. We just got out of our handcuffs. Our mom had us handcuffed in the laundry room.’ »
Their mother, Zaikiya Duncan, 40, was arrested hours later in Louisiana after police issued a missing children alert for five other children. The seven children, including the twins, are now in the custody of the Child Protective Service, authorities said.
The 15-year-old twins were severely malnourished and told police the abuse had been happening for months, according to the affidavit. They told police Duncan handcuffed them, forced them to drink bleach and other household cleaners and also sprayed oven cleaner in their mouths “if they talked too much”, according to the report. affidavit.
The twins also told authorities they were forced to eat and drink feces and urine, according to the affidavit.
The neighbour, a nurse in the intensive care unit, said she photographed the teenagers’ injuries and called the police.
The girl was “complaining that she couldn’t even close her hand because her hand was so tight and swollen from trying to pull and remove the handcuffs,” the woman said.
Duncan is imprisoned in Baton Rouge awaiting extradition for aggravated assault. Her boyfriend, Jova Terrell, 27, is also facing an assault charge. It was unclear whether either had an attorney and they are expected to be extradited to Texas within 30 days, KTRK reported.
This story has been updated to correct the members’ attribution regarding the planned extradition to KTRK.