CYPRESS, Texas – New details have emerged about the teenage twins who allegedly escaped abusive conditions at a Cypress home, where they were reportedly living in horror at the hands of their mother and her boyfriend.
A neighbor who answered their plea for help spoke to KPRC 2 about the heartbreaking case.
‘Can you help us?’
Horrified, hurt, abused and desperate, a 16-year-old sister and brother allegedly escaped their home on Marina Alto Lane, where they said they were being handcuffed and abused.
Ring doorbell camera shows the twins standing on their neighbor’s doorstep, pleading for help.
“She was wearing a hoodie. She reached into her hoodie and showed me the handcuffs and she was like, ‘we just escaped,’” the neighbor, who wishes to remain anonymous, said.
She described the moment when the siblings showed up at her home.
“It was about 5:20 ish, 5:24 when they started ringing the doorbell,” she said.
The woman let the twins inside and called 911 after they told her what their mother allegedly had done.
“She kept shaking and she was like, ‘my mom has kept us locked up in the laundry room,” the neighbor described.
The neighbor said the children had visible signs of abuse.
“Just scratches and bruises all over his arm. Both of them had severe scars around their wrists,” she explained.
According to the Harris County Precinct 5 Constable’s Office, the mother, Zaikiya Duncan, and her boyfriend, Jova Terrell, fled the home they rented in Cypress with five other children around 5:30 a.m. after realizing the twins were gone. This prompted an Amber Alert for the missing children. An 18-year-old brother of the children was also missing with the couple.
On Tuesday evening, Louisiana State Police arrested the couple in Baton Rouge.
Deputies said when the couple was caught, only one of the five children was with them. The suspects told law enforcement the remaining children were dropped off at a relative’s home, and they were later found safe by Louisiana law enforcement.
Duncan and Terrell were being transported back to Texas to face first-degree injury to a child charges.
All children, ranging in ages from 7 to 14 years old, have been accounted for, in addition to the twins, who just couldn’t take it any longer.
Authorities said Duncan has a documented history with Children’s Protective Services.
Louisiana court records show Duncan was accused in 2012 of three counts of cruelty to juveniles after one of her children, who was 5 years old at the time, was treated for burns consistent with being submerged in hot water. The child also allegedly regularly slept on a closet floor with boards in front of the door to stop them from “escaping and stealing food from the kitchen.”
Learning that information bothers the woman who rescued the twins.
“The mother got a slap on the wrist and probation and did a little class and what does CPS do? ‘Here you go. You’re fit to be a mother now,’” she said.
The neighbor shared that she hasn’t slept much, worried about the fate of the children whom she helped early that morning.
“Before they took them off, she looked at me and she said, ‘thank you,” the neighbor said.
She wants the children to know that her thoughts will always be with them.