Police need public's help to find man involved in closet abuse case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Police are searching for a man in connection with a child found malnourished, and living in a closet.

Marcus Benson, 34, was the boyfriend of that child's mother. Officials say once he is behind bars, he will face two counts of first-degree child endangerment.

Neighbors said that for three years they saw Benson go in and out of the apartment, but never saw the 10-year-old girl police found in a closet. A closet she called her bedroom and bathroom. 
 
Peaches Burrell knows Benson as the boyfriend to her friend and neighbor Jacole Prince, the girl's mother. Prince is now behind bars after the Missouri Division of Family Services received an anonymous call that she was abusing the little girl in her apartment.
 
DFS and Kansas City Police found the girl locked in a closet and covered in her own filth on June 22. 
 
Officers arrested and charged Prince with three counts of child abuse. Now Benson is charged, but not yet behind bars.
 
"It's sad, but I'm kind of glad because she shouldn't take the fall by herself," Burrell said.
 
Burrell and other neighbors never knew about the little girl until officers took her out of the home. The girl only weighed 32 pounds.
 
We don't know the girl's name -- police documents only refer to her by her initials, LP. Burrell and other neighbors plan to attend Prince's next court appearance because they believe there is more to the story. 
 
"My goal is not to go to court to bash her or make her feel bad, but let her know that I still love her and I'm here for her," Burrell said. "We want answers. We don't understand how did this go on and we didn't know or is there something we need to know to look for and what to look for."
 
Prince's next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday afternoon in Jackson County Court. Detectives are still looking for Benson.
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