KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The story of the 10-year-old girl found horribly malnourished and locked in a closet hit a little too close to home for one Kansas City family.
In late 2010, authorities found 7-year-old Govi in an attic. He was starved to near-death. As Govi's new, adoptive mom Stacy Eastwood watched the recent story on 41 Action News, she couldn't help but check off similarities between her new son's case and the one she found herself watching.
- A child found in a small enclosure (an attic and a closet)
- A child weighing a fraction of what he/she should
- Sever malnourishment, or failure to thrive
- A child living in his/her own waste
- Two other siblings in the home who'd witnessed the neglect
- A mom and a boyfriend
- Children by different biological fathers
- A call to authorities ended up leading to their discovery
"We felt like we were reliving what we went through a year and a half ago," said Eastwood.
Eastwood remembers what it was like in the early days, weeks and months for Govi after he was found in the attic. She can only imagine the 10-year-old found recently will have the same experience. Govi had Refeeding Syndrome, which meant he could only be given small portions of liquid and food to reintroduce his body to nourishment.
Govi's mom said these can't be isolated cases. She finds herself wondering how many other kids are being hidden away, mistreated, and neglected. Her mantra is "Eyes, Ears, Voice".
"We all have a gut. We all see things and hear things. We need to be the voice," Stacy said, obviously shaken by the thought of what these kids have been through.
She has plans to try and help kids who've been abused, and possibly a way for people to report suspicions.
But in the meantime, she maintains Govi's Army on Facebook - a group where people who care can get updates on Govi and his siblings, and openly discuss child abuse, neglect, and sometimes news stories as they break on TV.
Find out more about Govi's Army here: www.facebook.com/GovisArmy