Twin teenagers escaped imprisonment and horrific abuse to beg for help from a neighbor in Cypress, Texas. According to court documents, they detailed their incredible experience of abuse at the hands of their own family.
It was around 5 a.m. on a Tuesday morning when the twins were able to unlock their handcuffs and escape their home. They ended up at a neighbor’s house. The woman let them in and called the authorities.
The neighbor, who wishes to remain unidentified, said she was terrified, but she let them in because she saw the state in which the teenagers were in. They were shoeless, and the girl had a plastic bag on for a shirt while the boy had no shirt at all.
“They said, ‘Can you help us, can you help us?'” the woman said “They were so skinny and so frail. They just looked like they had been through a lot.”
She gave them blankets and a hot meal. As the two children felt safe they began to open up to her and she was horrified when they started telling her what they had been through.
“The more I asked and realized how severe the situation was, it was just a flood of emotions that came over me,” she told local news KHOU. “How a mother could do this to her kids and … I feel like my tears are out of frustration, anger, and sadness.”
She took photographs of their wounds, which appeared to show injuries from being handcuffed for a prolonged period of time.
Two teens escaped after their mother allegedly handcuffed them & held them captive in the laundry room. The 16-yr-old boy & girl went knocking on neighbors' doors for looking help early Tuesday morning. One neighbor finally helped them. The story coming up @KHOU at 5. pic.twitter.com/FBK0o5ejFX
— Anayeli Ruiz KHOU (@AnayeliNews) October 19, 2022
She called the police, who in turn took the children to the hospital.
It was at the Texas Children’s Hospital where the pair was questioned by law enforcement officials. They detailed horrific abuse allegedly at the hands of 27-year-old Jova Terrell and 40-year-old Zaikiya Duncan.
Court documents outlined what the teenagers told investigators. They claimed that they were drugged with Benadryl and that the boy suffered seizures after being made to ingest too many tablets. That they weren’t allowed to use the restroom and had to defecate and urinate on themselves. They then said they were forced to eat and drink their own waste. They said their mother poured bleach on their genitals and down their throats.
Investigators said they were extremely malnourished and that the twins said they were rarely fed and often beaten.
“When you see it in person, it just hits on a different level. It’s so sad, it’s a flood of emotions,” said the woman who rescued them. “You just don’t understand how little innocent kids go through this.”
When police went to the home to investigate, the parents had already fled. They took five other children with them. The couple was later arrested in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, though they only had one child with them at the time. The other four children were found to be with relatives.
According to Louisiana court documents, Duncan had been arrested and charged with a similar case of child abuse ten years earlier.
Duncan and Terrell were charged with injury to a child.