Court documents: Mom repeatedly abused child locked in closet

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The woman accused of locking her child in a closet could soon lose her parental rights before her criminal case goes to trial.

According to court documents from the Jackson County Family Court Division, Jacole Prince admitted to intentionally withholding food from her daughter in 2006 so that the child would not defecate and urinate frequently.

That admission came after an October 2005 diagnosis of Failure to Thrive for the 10-year-old now referred to as LP.

According to the John Hopkins Children's Center, children are diagnosed with Failure to Thrive when their weight or weight gain is significantly below that of other children of similar age and gender.

The court documents from family services describe how in January of 2006, LP was hospitalized after her mother refused to take her to scheduled outpatient appointments for her diagnosed condition.

Within days of the hospitalization, the Jackson County family court division removed LP and her younger sister from Prince's care. Both were place in protective custody.

In the first quarter of 2007, both children were reunited with their mother and were living in the T.B. Watkins Apartment Homes. That's the same apartment building where LP was found locked in a closet and weighing just 32 pounds on June 22 of this year.

The documents also state that Prince and her boyfriend, who is not LP's father, physically abused the girl by "hitting her with their fists in her stomach, face, back and legs, which have left the marks, scars, and bruises on (her) body."

Prince has been charged with three counts of child abuse. She has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Police are currently searching for Prince's boyfriend, Marcus Benson, in connection with the case. He has been charged with two counts of first-degree child endangerment.

A petition has been filed to terminate Prince's parental rights to all three of her children. A case management conference is scheduled for July 30.

Read the petitions to terminate Prince's parental rights to her children at the links below:

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