Prosecutors level torture accusations against mother, man charged in 8-year-old boy’s death

HOUSTON – Authorities learned new details about the woman and man charged in connection to an 8-year-old boy’s death.

Kayla Holzendorf, 24, appeared in court Thursday. The woman and her common-law husband, 28-year-old Dominique Lewis, claimed the boy drowned in a Houston motel bathtub late Sunday night, but detectives didn’t believe that.

According to court documents, the boy experienced chronic physical abuse and torture, including deep ligature marks on both ankles and large patches of skin missing from his chest, upper arm, thighs.

Authorities said Holzendorf is charged with tampering with evidence and injury to a child. Her attorney argued she wasn’t a flight risk and her assessed risk was below average. He made a plea for a low bond. According to court documents, Holzendorf has no prior convictions of any kind.

Prosecutors said officers found a set of handcuffs in the mattress of the hotel room that Holzendorf admitted to hiding there.

Just last month, the couple had an encounter with the police. A woman sent KPRC 2 video saying she saw the same boy at a grocery store on Wilcrest, selling muffins on Feb. 28. She called 911 after noticing the boy had a black eye and scratches behind his ears.

Police said the officer talked to Holzendorf, who said the boy got the injuries after falling off his bike. The officer said he noticed the boy was laughing and playful, so he let them go and referred the case to CPS.

Her bond was set at a total of $150,000-- $50,000 for injury to a child and $100,000 for tampering with evidence. Lewis’ bond was set at $300,000. Charges could be upgraded once the results of the autopsy are released.