House of horrors
It was, investigators said, a house of horrors.
An East Texas woman accused of murdering her adopted 13-year-old son killed him with an array of household weapons -- beating him with a broom handle, a mop handle, a rake and a baseball bat, an affidavit filed by a Cass County district attorney's investigator said.
Some of those items were handed to the mother by another child who was ordered to fetch them for her, the affidavit said. The other child at one point refused to give his mother the baseball bat, so she got it and a computer cord herself and continued the beatings, the affidavit said.
The victim was bound hand and foot with plastic ties some of the time, the investigator said, and was kicked and beaten again with the bat when he couldn't sit up.
Cynthia Hudson, 45, of Queen City, Texas, is jailed in Cass County on murder charges in the death of her adopted son, Samuel Hudson. Her husband, William, is accused of trying to dispose of items used to beat the children.
Investigators said Cynthia Hudson attempted suicide two days after her son's death. A note admitting to the murder was found in her pocket at the hospital, investigators said.
The case began after Cass sheriff's deputies were called to the house on Dec. 3. They found Samuel dead.
Two other boys and a girl -- who authorities said were abused by being whipped excessively and confined in a "prayer room" without food or water and limited trips to the bathroom -- have been removed from the family home and placed in foster care.
One child said she was confined in the "prayer room" from April to June of this year, getting bread only twice a week, investigators said.
The affidavit said the children told of being punished by having to run laps. One said she had to put a pepper in her mouth for an hour.
A surveillance camera in the room has been seized. Authorities believe alarms were placed on the children's bedroom doors to alert Cynthia Hudson if they left, the affidavit said.
After Samuel died, the investigator said, the other children were told he had killed himself.
Cass County District attorney Clint Allen said he will ask a grand jury for a capital murder indictment against Cynthia Hudson. He said he will seek a death sentence if he gets the capital murder indictment.
Authorities said the children are adopted. They have not disclosed how the Hudsons got them.
A neighbor said he never suspected anything at the Hudsons house.
The children were home schooled, investigators said.
The children told investigators they were punished for bad grades, lying or failure to perform pushups, jumping jacks and races with each other, the affidavit said. They told of being beaten with a fishing rod, a water hose, a metal bat, a paddle and their mother's fist. There sometimes would be up to 200 licks, one of the boys told investigators.