Mother and common-law husband appear in court on charges related to 8-year-old's death

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A woman and her common-law husband appeared in court for the first time since an 8-year-old boy was found badly injured in a west Houston hotel room and was later pronounced dead.

The boy's mother, Kayla Holzendorf, 24, appeared in court early Thursday morning, and her common-law husband, Dominique Lewis, 28, appeared several hours later.

Both have been charged with injury to a child and tampering with evidence.

The charges could be upgraded for both, especially with the evidence investigators found inside the hotel room where the boy was found.

Holzendorf's bail was set at $150,000 total - $100,000 for an injury to a child charge and $50,000 for tampering with evidence. Lewis' bail was set at $300,000 total - $250,000 for injury to a child and $50,000 for tampering with evidence.

"One of the charges that each defendant is charged with right now, tampering with evidence related to a pair of handcuffs that were initially seen by the first responders," the chief prosecutor said in court. "Once the formal search of the apartment was conducted, those handcuffs were found inside, stuffed underneath the mattress, and the mother, Kayla Holzendorf, admitted that they moved those. So we believe those handcuffs may be associated with those ligature marks on the ankles."

ORIGINAL STORY: Houston police had contact with 8-year-old boy 3 weeks before his death
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The boy had patches of missing skin and deep ligature marks when he died, investigators say.



On Tuesday, police and firefighters responded to a possible drowning call at a West Beltway hotel and found 8-year-old Keyontae Holzendorf unresponsive.

Police also saw the boy had patches of missing skin and ligature marks, making investigators believe the incident was more than a drowning.

It was revealed that Houston police actually met Keyontae three weeks ago on Feb. 28 after getting a call from Nahji Jackson. She reported possible child abuse after seeing the boy with bruises and scratches, selling muffins outside a Food Town store.

"If you see something, say something. No matter what, say something. Get help. I wanted to take him. I didn't even care what happened to me. I hate, I felt like I could have done more," Jackson said. "But what more could I have done, a complete stranger?"

Jackson gave ABC13 video from the day HPD met the boy. They say the officer who met with him reported that he was playful and not fearful of his parents.



The parents reportedly told officers his cuts and bruises were from falling off a bike.

Child protective services has had prior contact with the family but specific details are confidential according to law, a spokesperson said.

Holzendorf is due back in court on Friday.

Lewis' bond was set under the conditions that he cannot have any unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 17 and can't go within 200 feet of any school, childcare facility, park or other location where children regularly gather. He will also be required to surrender his passport.

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