Jacole Prince of Kansas City, Missouri has been charged with abusing her 10-year-old daughter after the girl was found locked in a closet that smelled of urine.
Prince, 29, is facing assault, endangerment and child abuse charges. All of the charges are felonies.
Anonymous Caller Reported Abuse
An anonymous caller contacted the child abuse hotline claiming that three children lived at Prince’s home, but one was confined in a closet. The agency notified the police.
In response to the anonymous call, police officers met social workers from the Missouri Children’s Division outside of Prince’s apartment. When they arrived at the home, neighbors told them that Prince had left the home with two girls.
When a social worker told the neighbors that three girls lived at the home, the neighbors insisted that only two children lived with Prince. Prince told them she only had two daughters. Neighbors claimed that they had lived near Prince for several years but had never seen a third child.
When questioned by police, the neighbors insisted that the other two daughters were always clean and seemed well-cared for.
Officers Discover Girl Locked in Closet
When officers entered the apartment, they discovered a crib set up against a closet door in a bedroom. The closet door was tied closed. When an officer asked if anyone was in there, they heard the girl respond, “Yes.” The officers opened the door to the closet and discovered the girl standing inside. The closet reeked of urine.
The girl was taken to a local hospital. The hospital staff reported that the girl weighed only six pounds more than she did at her last hospital visit six years earlier. When questioned by investigators, the girl explained that she had no room of her own and that she was forced to remain in the closet most of the time. She claimed that she often went without food for days. She also did not have access to a restroom and had to relieve herself in the closet.
The girl told officers that she wasn’t allowed out of the house because she “messes herself.” She claims that Prince gets mad and punches her on the back when she pees on herself.
According to reports, the girl was suffering from several skin injuries and failure to thrive. At 32 pounds, the girl weighs just over one-third of the weight of a typical 10-year-old child. It is unclear how long the girl had been confined to the closet.
Authorities say that the anonymous phone call to the child abuse hotline likely saved the child’s life.
Children Placed in Protective Custody
Prince was arrested on Friday, June 22. The other two children were placed in protective custody.
Prince acknowledged that she did not let the girl leave the house. She claims that she was embarrassed by the girl’s appearance and feared she would be in trouble if anyone saw her condition.
Prince’s boyfriend has not been charged. He has denied knowing that the girl had been locked in the closet. He is not the biological father of the victim. Police are attempting to locate the victim’s biological father.
Prince was arraigned on Monday, June 25. She entered a plea of not guilty.
This article was written on behalf of Stokes Injury Lawyers, a group of Atlanta wrongful death attorneys who will fight for you and your family.