On February 28, a woman named Nahji Jackson spotted a young boy selling muffins right in front of Food Town on Briar Forest. From what she has told ABC 13, she got concerned for the boy’s well-being because he had cuts and bruises all over his face and wouldn’t speak. Jackson alerted the police and said she suspected child abuse.
Police spoke to the boy and contacted his parents who claimed he got the bruises from falling off a bike. The police wrote that the 8-year-old boy, whose name was Keyontae Holzendorf, seemed playful and didn’t appear to be scared of his parents. However, they did proceed the case to the Child Protective Service and the Physical Abuse Unit as a precaution, who didn’t find a record of previous abuse. Sadly, just three weeks after Jackson’s encounter with the boy, he died.
Namely, the police got a call of a possible drowning and arrived at the scene at Quality Inn and Suites off the West Beltway. It was Keyontae’s parents who made that call.
Keyontae was found lying in the middle of the room on the second floor, unresponsive and with severe injuries on his body. According to ABC 13, the boy was missing patches of skin on his chest, arms, tights, and the genitalia area. The investigators were aware there was more to the story than an accidental drowning.
Unfortunately, Keyontae was pronounced dead once at the hospital.
Homicide: 2900 W Sam Houston Pkwy. Drowning death of juvenile child. Investigation ongoing. #hounews CC8
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) March 24, 2021
Speaking to ABC 13, Gilbert Sawtelle, the chief prosecutor of the Child Fatality Division at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, said: “When HFD and Houston police arrived, this complainant had many, many signs of chronic abuse, both old and new injuries and the new injuries are horrendous.”
There were also marks of handcuffs and ligature on the boy’s ankles. Apparently, his mother, Kayla Holzendorf, and her common-law husband, Dominique Lewis, tried hiding the handcuffs. They have been arrested and charged with injury to a child and tampering with evidence. After the autopsy, the charges may be upgraded.
Rest in peace, Keyontae.