HOUSTON -- A relative of twins accused of living with their dead mother for months said the men are mentally disabled and likely didn t know better.

I've known them since they were little babies, said Elvin Berndt about his cousins Edwin and Edward Berndt. I think they are scared.

The 48-year-old brothers are facing murder charges.

Police said the pair left their mother on the floor of their southeast Houston home after she fell and never got her help. She died three days later. According to detectives, the twins lived with the body for three months.

My guess is whenever she fell, she didn t ask for anything, and more than likely, they just figured she s all right, said Berndt. If she fell and she didn't say anything they figured that she's all right and not thinking anything about it the way their brain works.

Berndt says the twins have always been quiet and kept to themselves.

They didn't talk that much and when they did it was slow, he said. They had their own language that they could talk in. Nobody could understand them, but they could, he said.

While the twins lived in Houston, they spent many weekends at the family s 80-acre farm in Danevang. They would stop by the town co-op which is about a half mile from their country home. On Sundays, they would attend services at the Danevang Lutheran church.

The twins' cousin said he isn't sure what specifically is wrong with the brothers, but said Edwin is slower than Edward.

Edward drives and recently showed interest in working on the farm, he said.

In fact, Berndt said Edwin was outside the country home talking to himself just a month ago, which would have been after his mother died.

He was out here sitting on a tree and somebody drove by and said he was just looking around and talking, said their cousin.

Berndt says he has no reason to believe that they intentionally did anything wrong.

They were probably scared to death and here we lost daddy, and we might lose momma, and well, she s gone, we didn t take her to the doctor and now we re in trouble, said Berndt describing what the twins may have been thinking.

The Berndt twins are in jail. A judge set bond at $500,000.

Their attorney says he hopes to get that bond reduced.

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