Jacole Prince, a 29-year-old mother of three from Kansas City, MO, is under arrest after police found her malnourished 10-year-old daughter living in a closet on Friday.
Missouri Children’s Division workers went to the woman’s apartment in the 1300 block of Highland Avenue with police after receiving a tip on a child abuse hotline from an anonymous caller who said that there was a child there who was not allowed out to eat or use the bathroom. When they arrived, they noticed a strong smell of urine on the second floor, and found the girl in a small utility closet closet with the door blocked by a crib. The girl was standing in her own urine and feces and appeared to have been there for some time. She was wearing a dirty t-shirt in a size 2T.
When the 10-year-old girl was taken to the hospital, she weighed only 32 pounds. SHe told police that she was not allowed to eat with her family because she “messes herself”, that she was not allowed to play outside but instead played behind the couch, and that her mother would hit her when “[peed] on herself.” She said she had been in the closet, which she referred to as “her room”, for the past two days.
Police say another “failure to thrive” report was made on the girl in 2006, when she was 4-years-old.
Prince is charged with assault in the first degree, child abuse, and endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree. Her boyfriend was also arrested, though he denies knowing that the child was ever locked in the closet. Neighbors claim that Prince told them she only had two children.
On Prince’s Facebook page there is a picture of a smiling toddler, with the words, “Can u vote for my baby at Great American Photo Contest.”
Prince’s other two children have been taken into state care.