KCMO couple charged after girl, 8, found malnourished in bedroom

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Kansas City couple has been charged after police found a malnourished 8-year-old girl locked in her room, according to court documents.

Jeffrey Kraft, 34, and Michele Kraft, 28, have each been charged with first-degree assault and first-degree endangering the welfare of a child.

According to the probable cause statement, police officers were first called to the home in the 1100 block of Pacific Street to meet with the Children's Division on a report of a child being locked in a room and physically abused.

Police found the victim, referred to as GW, locked in her bedroom and cleaning urine from the floor when they arrived. Authorities say the child appeared to be malnourished, and there was a strong odor in the room.

According to court documents, the victim weighed 42 pounds - only 14 pounds more than she weighed at age 3.

According to a statement taken from GW, the victim had not been in school since kindergarten.

The probable cause statement says the girl was the niece of the Krafts and they served as her legal guardian.

The Krafts also have a five-year-old niece and a 5-month-old daughter that were previously in their care. Neither child showed signs of abuse. Both are currently in protective custody.

Dennis Meier, associate executive director of Synergy Services, has been working with child abuse victims for nearly 30 years. He hopes GW's case will encourage people to be more vigilant when reporting child abuse.

"We as a community need ask tougher questions when things don't add up," Meier said. "That courage often saves a child life."

Read the probable cause statement here: http:// bit.ly/PrCLdw

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