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BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA: An Instagram video shows Zaikiya Duncan’s children reading scripted letters declaring their love for her on Mother’s day. Zaikiya, 40, and her boyfriend, Jova Terrell, 27, have been arrested after her 16-year-old twins managed to break free from their handcuffs and fled to a neighbor’s home. The boy and girl claim that the couple chained them and left them inside their Houston house, where they were made to consume their own feces and urine.
Despite the harrowing accounts, Duncan presented the home on social media as anything but a den of terror, as she posted seemingly-happy pictures and videos of herself with the children and other family members.
In a series of videos, she shared to Instagram in May of last year, at least two of her kids stepped in front of the camera to read Mother’s Day messages to both Duncan and their grandparents. The video shows the children of Duncan, who kept her 16-year-old twins shackled in their Texas home, reading scripted Mother’s Day letters declaring their love for their mom.
The boy reads a scripted letter on Mother’s day (@zaikiyaduncan/Instagram)
One of her boys says, “To my mom, I thank you for raising me, you are the light of my life. I love you so much. I thank you for helping me throughout life. You have been here for me my whole life and I thank you for that.” The video then cuts to one of the girls which show her saying a brief “I love you” to Duncan and addressing her nana and saying that even though she doesn’t like to go to the store with her, she will because it’s Mother’s Day.
The 16-year-olds told investigators they were kept naked and handcuffed in a small laundry room and had to remain silent the entire day or they would be beaten, according to the charging documents obtained by KHOU 11. The only food they were given were sandwiches of mustard, bologna, or relish a couple of times a week. A medical examination later revealed signs that the children had been starved and the boy had at least one healed bone fracture consistent with physical abuse. The severely malnourished teenage kids described how they and their siblings had been starved, beaten, tied, kept naked, and made to consume their own excrement. They also endured beatings with metal rods, and whippings with electrical wires, and were forced to consume bleach, as a form of punishment.
Duncan and Turell were arrested in Louisiana where they had fled with their other kids, aged 14, 10, 7, and 12-year-old twins. The kids have been placed under care now.