Mother accused of handcuffing and starving children extradited back to Harris County

Courtney Fischer Image
Monday, October 31, 2022
Mother accused of handcuffing, starving twins back in Harris County
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Zaikiya Duncan, a Cypress mother accused of abusing her children, was extradited to Harris County over the weekend from Louisiana.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A mother charged in the abuse case of her own twins was extradited to Harris County from Louisiana over the weekend.

Zaikiya Duncan, 40, was booked in jail on Saturday and appeared in court the next day. ABC13 has requested the video from that courtroom appearance.

Duncan's boyfriend, 27-year-old Jova Terrell, was not listed in Harris County, according to a check of the Harris County District Clerk website on Monday morning.

Duncan and Terrell are both charged with injury to a child and are accused of some horrific acts of child abuse.

ABC13 uncovered the video showing twin 16-year-olds going to a neighbor's home for help in Cypress. Deputies said they had been handcuffed. That led to the search for their mother, her boyfriend, and their siblings in Baton Rouge.

SEE ORIGINAL STORY: Cypress woman answers handcuffed twins' cry for help after escaping abusive home

Duncan and Terrell, along with five children, were at the center of an Amber Alert issued on Tuesday, Oct. 18. They were eventually all found in Louisiana, and the adults were arrested.

This is how everything started.

The twins -- a boy and a girl -- were captured at about 5:30 a.m. going door to door begging for help. One of them was not even wearing a shirt, and the weather was fairly cold that morning.

It's unclear how long they were looking for help, but a woman eventually let them inside. She said she was horrified at their condition.

She told ABC13 that the teenagers were hungry and that they shared details of abuse they suffered at home, claiming not having eaten in days and being handcuffed and locked inside the laundry room of their Cypress home.

The neighbor called the police which sparked an Amber Alert.

"The girl was saying, 'This is what's going on,' and the boy was just, all he could think about was food. They sat down, both of them said they were hungry. They started eating and saying how they moved from Baton Rouge to here," the neighbor said.

The siblings managed to escape the home after the boy hid the key to the handcuffs in his mouth, according to court documents.

READ: Documents detail what twin siblings endured before escaping abusive Cypress home

The teen waited for his mother and her boyfriend to fall asleep so he could unlock the restraints on their wrists and run away.

In an interview with detectives, the 16-year-olds said they were forced to drink bleach, had corrosive oven cleaner sprayed in their mouths, and were routinely beaten and burned.

During the interview, police say the girl was wearing a gray plastic grocery bag around her neck. She said that's what she had to use as a shirt.

Court records also state the children said all they were given to eat were mustard, relish, or bologna sandwiches. They say they had to drink from a water supply valve for the washing machine.

When it came to sleeping, records state the teens said they were forced to take dangerous amounts of pills.

The twins were placed in the care of Child Protective Services.

We looked into the mother's background and found that she has a documented case of child abuse in Louisiana from 2012.

As for incidents in Texas, CPS said they have had no contact with the family.

The video above is from the previous report.

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