Kansas City police responding to a neighbor’s tip say they discovered a 10-year-old girl in a closet Friday, covered in her own excrement. The Kansas City Star reports that the closet was tied shut with rope and barricaded with a crib. Inside, the child, identified in court documents as LP, was sitting in her own urine and feces. Police say LP had no room and no bed of her own, and spent most of her time in the closet. She wore toddler-sized clothes and weighed in at only 32 pounds, less than half of what a normal 10-year-old should weigh. According to hospital records, LP gained only six pounds in six years; she weighed 26 pounds in 2006.
The girl’s mother, Jacole Prince, 29, has been charged with assault, abuse of a child and endangering a child’s welfare. During her arraignment today, her bond was set at $200,000, and her next court date was scheduled for July 12.
Police say Prince’s other daughters, 2 and 8, appeared to be fed and taken care of. It is unclear why LP received the treatment she did while the other two daughters did not. LP told police that the day she was found, she had remained in the closet while the rest of her family went out for breakfast, because “she messes herself.” LP also told police that her mother hits her for wetting herself. Prince allegedly told authorities that she didn’t let LP out of the house because she knew that if someone saw how emaciated she was, she’d be in trouble.
Prince’s boyfriend, whose name is on the apartment where Prince and the children lived, claims to not have been aware of the abuse and has not been charged with a crime. However, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said charges are not out of the question pending an investigation.
All three children have been removed from the home and placed in state custody. LP remains hospitalized.