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Abusive mom fled with kids to Baton Rouge after handcuffed teens escaped Texas home, report says

1 year 7 months 4 weeks ago Thursday, October 20 2022 Oct 20, 2022 October 20, 2022 7:17 PM October 20, 2022 in News
Source: KTRK

BATON ROUGE - A mother accused of abuse reportedly crammed her family into a car along with her boyfriend and drove to Baton Rouge after two malnourished, handcuffed teens escaped their home in Texas. 

KTRK obtained surveillance video showing the two 15-year-olds going door-to-door in their Cypress, Texas neighborhood looking for help late Monday. After about half an hour of wandering, a good Samaritan let them inside and called police.

"They were saying they had just gotten here from Baton Rouge... that they had just moved here and that their mom didn't disclose the address to them, and so they didn't know where they lived," said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous.

When law enforcement tracked down the house early Tuesday morning, the couple — Zaikiya Duncan and Jova Terrell — was gone along with Duncan's five juvenile children. Authorities issued an Amber Alert for the missing kids — who ranged ages 7 to 14 — in Harris County, and their car was spotted hours later in Baton Rouge. 

After police stopped the suspects' car at a parking lot along Nicholson Drive that afternoon, officers found only one of the missing kids. The pair said they had dropped the other four off with a relative, and Louisiana State Police said the other children were later found safe.

New pictures and video obtained Wednesday offered more insight into the squalor the children were living in at the Texas home.

The woman who took in the escaped siblings said the first thing they asked for was food. The teenage twins also had scarring on their wrists where they had tried to break free from their handcuffs.

They were reportedly forced to live in a laundry room and made to drink their own urine, KTRK reports.

"They told me details about what they endured, what the mom has put them through," the good Samaritan said. "The more I looked at them, the more I could see the abuse... Literally they were just skin and bones."

The twins are currently getting treatment at a hospital.

Duncan and Terrell were booked as fugitives into the East Baton Rouge jail and will be extradited to Texas to face charges. Duncan was previously arrested in East Baton Rouge more than a decade ago for child abuse and ultimately pleaded guilty in that case.

Duncan and Terrell will stay in jail without bond until they can be taken back to Texas to face charges. 

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