Couple indicted in beating death of 8-year-old boy


HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — A Houston couple has been indicted for capital murder in the death of an 8-year-old boy who was severely beaten, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Friday.

Keyontae Holzendorf, 8, died in a west Houston motel room bathtub after being severely beaten, handcuffed, and bound with duct tape on March 23, 2021, investigators said.

The video above is from a previous report.

“The way this little boy died is almost unthinkable and absolutely horrifying” Ogg said. “We believe he was handcuffed, bound at the ankles and legs with ligatures and duct tape, had his mouth taped shut and was beaten so severely that he either died from blunt force trauma or suffocated on the blood from his broken teeth.”

The boy’s mother and her boyfriend initially called 911 and said that Keyontae had drowned in the bathtub at the motel where they lived.

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Emergency Medical Technicians performed CPR and the boy was transported to Texas Children’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

He had numerous new and old injuries on his body, including severe ligature marks on his ankles and wrists (from handcuffs), broken teeth, and large pieces of skin missing from his thigh, chest, upper arms, and genitalia, consistent with duct tape being ripped off frantically, according to court records.

Kayla Holzendorf, 25, and Dominique Lewis, 29, were indicted by a grand jury on Thursday.

READ MORE: Houston police had contact with 8-year-old boy 3 weeks before his death

The couple reportedly told police that the boy had not been to school in a year and a half. The boy would sell packages of muffins the couple bought from HEB in a Kroger parking lot, claiming that his mom baked them.

“This is obvious child torture, and the evidence is clear that the defendants acted intentionally. It was capital murder,” said Assistant District Attorney Gilbert Sawtelle, who is prosecuting the case.

If Holzendorf and Lewis are convicted of capital murder for killing a child under the age of 10, they could both face the death penalty, or life in prison without parole.

According to the DA’s office, decisions about seeking the death penalty are generally made by a committee of senior prosecutors months after a defendant has been charged.


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