NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A single mother made an initial court appearance Friday after being accused of locking her 4-year-old daughter in an apartment bedroom for up to 12 hours a day -- tethered to a bedpost and left with a plastic tote bin to use as a toilet.
Laketha Charis Moore, 36, kept her eyes downcast and said nothing as she stood in shackles and an orange jail jumpsuit before North Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Pro-Tem Eugene Martin.
The judge told Moore that she faces two child abuse and 31 child neglect charges but that formal charges had not been filed.
Martin ruled there was probable cause to keep Moore jailed for up to a week on $620,000 bail while North Las Vegas police and Child Protective Services officials continue to investigate.
A deputy public defender, Xiomara Ferrera, met for the first time with Moore and said outside court that she hadn't seen the evidence in the case. But she said Moore planned to fight the charges.
Moore also faces an eviction hearing Tuesday in a separate court action, a court clerk said.
Moore was arrested Tuesday after apartment managers noticed a tie described as a bathrobe belt stretched from the knob of a closed bedroom door to a bathroom door in the unit where Moore lived alone with the girl, according to a North Las Vegas police report made public Friday.
The apartment officials entered the unit and found the child in the room, the report said.
A downstairs neighbor who told police she knew Moore as Kiki told investigators she hadn't seen the girl in a couple of months and that Moore told her the child was living with her grandmother in California.
Moore was arrested when she returned home as police were investigating, said North Las Vegas Police Officer Chrissie Coon, a department spokeswoman.
Moore later told investigators she didn't have a baby sitter, and that she began leaving her daughter alone at home Feb. 5 while she went to work during the week and to church on Sundays, according to the police report. Moore told police she began tethering her daughter to the bed days later because the girl would ransack the apartment while she was gone.
Moore also told police she sometimes hit the girl with a belt when she was angry, and police reported the girl was treated at a hospital for several scrapes and bruises consistent with beatings.
Coon said the girl was left with little to eat or drink in a room that reeked of human waste.
The police report said officers found no water or food in the bedroom. Officers noted finding blood on a blue terrycloth bathrobe tie anchored to the bed, and several inches of urine and feces in the blue plastic tote bin with a purple lid.
The child was treated for minor injuries at University Medical Center in Las Vegas, and Child Protective Services spokeswoman Kristi Jourdan said she remained Friday in county custody.