Teenage twins fled their Texas home after allegedly being handcuffed and abused by their mother and her boyfriend, cops said.
The bruised and malnourished 16-year-old twins — a boy and a girl — escaped their home in Cypress on Monday and asked a neighbor to call 911, according to local reports.
The two could not tell police their address as they had just moved into the neighborhood recently.
When police arrived the twins said they had been handcuffed. Their mother, her boyfriend and five other siblings— ages 7 to 14 — had all left home. Another 18-year-old brother was also believed to be with them, police said.
An amber alert was subsequently issued on Tuesday morning, according to posts from the Harris County Constable Precinct 5’s Facebook page.
Hours later, police confirmed that Zaikiya Duncan, 40 and Jova Terrell, 27, had been arrested in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Only one child was found with the couple when they were arrested, police said. The other four children were later found safe at a relative’s home near Baton Rouge. The whereabouts of the 18-year-old brother are unclear.
Duncan and Terrell were both charged with injury to a child and are expected to be extradited back to Harris County, cops said.
All seven children have been placed in child Protective Service custody, officials said.
The twins told police they were handcuffed inside a utility room, where they were forced to drink their own urine and eat their own feces, sources told KHOU. The boy had at least one fractured bone and both were malnourished and had injuries on their wrists from the handcuffs.
A neighbor told KPRC that the family had just moved into the home two weeks ago.
The mother has a history of abusing her children.
Ten years ago, Duncan’s then-5-year-old child was taken from her school to a local hospital for burns to his genitals, feet and other parts of the body, according to court documents obtained by KHOU. Doctors determined the child, who also had bruises on his body, was likely burned by hot water.
When police arrived at Duncan’s house in response to the incident, they found a 20-month old baby wrapped in clothing with its hands bound.
She was questioned by police and admitted to forcing one of her children to hold a push-up position for up to an hour, causing their hands to swell. The child was also forced to sleep on the floor of a closet, which was barricaded shut by doors to prevent them from “escaping” or “stealing food from the kitchen,” according to court records.
Two of Duncan’s other children showed signs of abuse and were removed from the home. Duncan was charged with cruelty to juveniles.