Govi, found locked & starved in attic at age 5, works through trauma

PARKVILLE, Mo. - First there was Govi. Then there was L.P., who was discovered locked in a closet. Just a few weeks ago, police found G.W. locked in her bedroom and cleaning up her own urine.

All of them are victims of severe child abuse discovered by law enforcement in the metro area in the last two years.
Doctors said all three have suffered from the most common kind of child abuse: neglect.

Therapists at Synergy Services said neglect can leave the longest-lasting effects on a person.
For 18 months, therapists at Synergy have worked with Govi on his road to recovery.

Two years ago, police found the 6-year-old child with Down syndrome at a frail 17 to 18 pounds, starved by his own mother in the attic of their DeSoto home.


Govi is 8 years old now. His mother is in prison for attempted murder.

Govi's therapists said he is resilient but not resistant to the pain of abuse.

"He has grown by leaps and bounds. He's got a bright future," said Synergy's child and family therapist, Sonya Richardson.

For those who are on the front lines, trying to help these children recover is a long process.

Richardson has Govi role play with toys to work through the abuse he lived through for years at the hands of his own mother.

"I'm going to get out our jail," Richardson said to Govi in the therapy room.

"Shall we put mommy Rachel in jail?" Richardson asked.

Govi said confidently, "Yeah, get in jail! You're bad, she is bad!"

Govi's therapists said he is struggling to trust that no one will take him from his safe new adoptive family.

In the end, Govi came around and showed trust that his new loving parents are real and will not go away.

"Kiss, kiss,"  the two say to one another with toy figurines in hand. "Bye, bye mom!" Govi said.

When a child suffers abuse between the most formative time between a newborn and age 5, doctors said it can take a lifetime of therapy to recover.

However, Govi's therapist said he is ahead of the curve.

If you suspect a child is being abused, there are easy and anonymous ways to report it.

In Missouri, call the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect hotline at 1-800-392-3738.

In Kansas, call the Kansas Protection Report Center at 1-800-922-5330.

Officials say every call is taken seriously, and every effort will be made to protect your identity.

Print this article Back to Top