Mother of child found in closet charged with three counts of child abuse

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The mother of a 10-year-old child found malnourished in a closet in her KC home faces three charges of child abuse, according to an announcement from Jackson County prosecutors.

Jacole N. Prince, 29, faces one charge of assault in the first degree for failing to provide proper nutrition for the child, who is referred to as "LP." This is a Class A felony.

She faces one charge of abuse of a child, a Class C felony, for confining "LP" to a closet.

Finally, faces one charge of endangering the welfare of a child, for not seeking proper medical attention.

Missouri Department of Family Services received a tip on their hotline about a girl living in a closet. When DFS and Kansas City Police arrived at the home Friday morning, they found the girl severely malnourished and living in her own feces. Prosecutors say she weighed 34 pounds and was wearing 2T size clothing.

"Give or take a few (pounds) she weighs about a third of what a 10-year-old should weigh," said KCMOPD Captain Steve Young.

Officials believe the girl had been living in the closet for an extended period of time. Officers discovered the closet was her bedroom and bathroom. The closet was rigged where it could only be opened from the outside.

"The baby believed that the closet she was sleeping in was her room, said neighbor Kimberly Coppage.

According to prosecutors, "LP" was not allowed to eat with the rest of the family or go outside.

Neighbors say the mother and her two younger daughters lived in the apartment with her boyfriend. They say the boyfriend was the father of the younger daughters, but not the father of the 10-year-old.

"LP" is now recovering at Children's Mercy Hospital. She is getting ready to celebrate her eleventh birthday.

The two other daughters are in protective custody.

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