Tortured Twins Forced to Drink Oven Cleaner If They ‘Talked Too Much,’ Court Docs Say

WARNING: Graphic Content

Two 16-year-old twins who escaped a house of horrors this week detailed some of the abuse they suffered at the hands of their mother and her boyfriend in charging documents against the two.

The boy told investigators that Duncan once gave him 24 Benedryl tablets to make him sleep. Those dosage gave him a seizure, he said, so she reduced the dose to 20 tablets, KHOU reported.

Zaikiya Duncan, 40, and Jova Terrell, 27, were arrested in Louisiana, where they fled after the children’s escape from their Texas home, on Tuesday, as CrimeOnline previously reported. Duncan has been charged with injury to a child and aggravated assault, and Terrell is charged with continuous violence against a family member.

The twins, barefoot, emaciated, and barely dressed, escaped the house in Cypress early Tuesday morning, knocking on the doors of neighbors and begging for help until one of them opened the door and let them in.

By the time police arrived, Duncan, Terrell, and five other other children ages 8 to 14 — including 12-year-old twins — were gone. Only one child remained with the couple when they were arrested; the other four were found with relatives in Louisiana. All seven children are now with Child Protective Services in Texas.

According to charging documents, the twins said Duncan poured bleach down their throats and on their genitals, burning their skin. They also said she made them drink Lysol and Easy Off cleaners if they “talked too much,” KHOU reported.

They were beaten with extension cords and curtain rods, and Terrell frequently punched the boy, the documents say.

The victims said they were only fed a few times a week, typically a sandwich made with mustard, relish, or bologna. They were handcuffed naked to a dolly in the laundry room and often had their feet ziptied.

Court documents reveal cuts, bruises, and scars on their bodies, particularly the wrists and ankles.

The teens told investigators that their 12-year-old twin brothers were abused and locked into a bathroom.

The documents also reveal how the two escaped. The boy told investigators he found the handcuff key in his mother’s purse and concealed it in his mouth. At about 5 a.m. Tuesday, they used it to unlock the cuffs and fled.

The boy was shirtless, according to the woman who took them in, and the girl was wearing a grocery bag as a shirt.

“They said, ‘Can you help us, can you help us?'” the woman said. “They were so skinny and so frail. They just looked like they had been through a lot.”

She woman said she wrapped them in blankets and fed them.

“The more I asked and realized how severe the situation was, it was just a flood of emotions that came over me,” she said. “How a mother could do this to her kids and. … I feel like my tears are out of frustration, anger and sadness.”

KHOU also reported that Duncan had been charged with cruelty to juveniles 10 years ago in Louisiana, but the results of that case were not reported.

For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast.

[Featured image: Security footage screenshot/Harris County PD]