Report: Texas couple arrested after malnourished, handcuffed twins escape home, leading to manhunt

Couple to be charged with first-degree injury to a child, report says

Mother and boyfriend captured in Louisiana

A couple who fled Texas with five children were arrested a day after two 16-year-old twins escaped their Houston-area home, saying they were handcuffed and malnourished, according to reports.

The children’s mother, Zaikiya Duncan, and her boyfriend, Jova Terrell, were arrested in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Tuesday evening, just hours after an Amber Alert for the kids was issued, according to the Harris County Precinct 5 Constable’s Office.

The investigation into the couple started on Monday night, when the twins left their Cypress home in handcuffs, according to KPRC, KSAT’s sister station in Houston.

The twins, who were malnourished and bruised, ran for help and said they didn’t know their address, KPRC reported.

They had reportedly just moved to the area and hadn’t been outside.

Investigators later found their home, but when officers arrived, the family had already left.

An Amber Alert was then issued for the couple and the five children, whose ages range from 7-14.

The Harris County Precinct 5 Constable’s Office said the siblings’ 18-year-old brother was also missing.

The couple was later located by Louisiana State Police and taken into custody, the office said. Only one child was with them, and the couple said the others were dropped off at a relative’s house.

The children were later found safe, authorities said.

KPRC reported that Duncan and Terrell will be charged with first-degree injury to a child. They will be transported back to Texas.

KPRC reported that Duncan faced similar charges in 2012.

Duncan was previously charged with cruelty to a juvenile after her 5-year-old daughter had burns consistent with being placed under hot water, KPRC reported. In that case, the child reportedly slept in a closet that was blocked with boards.

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Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.