Bond set at $4.5M for Texas woman accused of starving, handcuffing twins

Prosecutors revealed that suspect is pregnant with her ninth child

Twins escape abusive home, run to get neighbors help in Cypress neighborhood

A Harris County judge increased the bond for a woman accused of starving her twin children and forcing them to drink bleach and household cleaners.

The bond for Zaikiya Duncan, 40, was set at $4.5 million on Thursday, according to KPRC, KSAT’s sister station in Houston.

She is facing charges of two counts of assault on a family member and two counts of aggravated assault on a family member.

Prosecutors revealed Thursday that Duncan is pregnant with her ninth child.

This combo of images provided by the Harris County Sheriff's Department shows, from left, Zaikiya Duncan, 40, left, and Jova Terrell, 27, who were arrested in Louisiana this week hours after a teenager told Texas police that he and his twin sister were handcuffed and endured horrific abuse escaped their family's home after he found a handcuff key and hid it in his mouth, authorities said in court records. (Harris County Sheriff's Department via AP)

Duncan and her boyfriend, Jova Terrell, were arrested in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, earlier this month after the 16-year-old twin siblings escaped their Cypress home.

On the night of Oct. 17, they left their home in handcuffs and ran for help, KPRC previously reported.

The twins said they didn’t know their address, as they had reportedly just moved to the area and hadn’t been outside.

Investigators later found their home, but when officers arrived, Duncan, Terrell, her adult child and her five underage kids had already left.

Deputies said the family likely fled after the couple realized the twins escaped. Authorities then issued an Amber Alert.

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.

Duncan was extradited to Texas over the weekend.

According to an affidavit, the twins told authorities that they had been abused for months, and Duncan made them drink bleach and household cleaners.

She sprayed oven cleaner in their mouths “if they talked too much,” the affidavit said.

The children were reportedly forced to urinate and defecate on themselves.

Assistant district attorney Keegan Childers told KPRC that additional charges may be filed, and they will interview her other children.

As of Thursday night, the children were in the foster care system, according to KPRC.

“There’s going to be plenty more evidence that comes out, we think, potentially related to the situation in this home,” Childers said Thursday.

In 2012 in Louisiana, Duncan and another man were accused of locking their children in a closet while other kids were subjected to various forms of abuse. One of her children, then 5, was taken to a school clinic with injuries that included burns consistent with being submerged in hot water, according to court records. It was not immediately known whether that child was one of the twins.

Duncan was initially charged with cruelty to a juvenile but ultimately pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of child desertion. She was sentenced to six months in prison, the maximum sentence for child desertion under Louisiana law.

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