KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Kansas City mother was arrested Saturday after her 10-year-old daughter, who weighed only 32 pounds, was found locked in a closet, Fox 4 reports.
The child was found Friday morning after authorities received a call to a child abuse hotline. When officers arrived, two women told them the mother had left about 20 minutes earlier with two girls, whom they described as "clean and well fed," a Kansas City officer said in the probable cause statement received by The Associated Press.
A social services worker said there should be three children at the home. However, the women insisted, "No, we have lived here for several years, and she only has two daughters that stay here, and we have never seen the other girl, but we heard she stays with the father or an aunt," the probable cause statement said.
When officers entered the home, they found the severely malnourished child locked in a closet that reeked of feces and urine. She reportedly told officers she had not been allowed to accompany her family to breakfast because "she messes herself."
The girl told detectives who interviewed her at the hospital that her mother puts her in the closet "a lot," that she doesn't get to eat every day and that she "does not want to go back home anymore." The girl also said she gets in trouble "because she keeps peeing on herself" and her mother will "punch her on her back real hard," according to the probable cause statement.
The girl was hospitalized, and is suffering from skin diseases as well as being malnourished. Officials say she has gained just six pounds since 2006, according to hospital records.
One stunned neighbor tell Fox 4 the child was in bad shape when she was carried out of the apartment by authorities.
“She doesn’t look like a normal ten-year-old child. Malnourished. Unclean. She just doesn’t look like a ten-year old should,” neighbor Kimberly Kelly tells Fox 4.
Kelly says there was never any indication something was wrong with the family, and that the other two girls seemed to lead normal, happy lives.
“The lady herself is very quiet,” Kelly told Fox 4. "Basically she had two other children that looked fine. Very clean. Very everything. They seemed to have fun. They had music on. They were outside all day."
The two other daughters are now in protective custody. The mother's boyfriend, who is not the girl's father and hasn't been charged, said he hadn't seen the girl in about a year.
He said that when he asked about her, the mother told him she was with her aunt or in her room because she was in trouble. He said he never knew the mother put the girl in the closet or "he would have done something about it," the probable cause statement said.
Mike Mansur, a spokesman for the Jackson County prosecutor's office, said the mother hasn't said why she singled the girl out. She has been charged with 1st degree assault, abuse of a child and endangering the welfare of a child.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.