Mom Accused of Keeping Daughter in Closet Pleads Not Guilty
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City, Missouri, woman accused of keeping her 10-year-old daughter locked in a closet pleaded not guilty to assault, child abuse and child endangerment charges on Thursday.
Jacole Prince, 29, appeared in a Jackson County courtroom on Thursday, while Kansas City Missouri Police continue to search for her boyfriend, Marcus Benson. According to police, Benson said that he did not know about the girl, who prosecutors allege was forced to live in a dark, filthy closet and who was not fed on a regular basis.
According to court documents, the girl was not allowed to use the toilet, and had lived in her own waste since 2007.
The couple’s neighbors told FOX 4 that although they had never seen the 10-year-old girl, they knew that Benson must have known about her.
“He had to know,” said neighbor Lovetta Parker. “He lived with her. So he was there every day, all day, with the kids, with the two other kids, he was there. How could he not know?”
Benson’s younger brother, Corey Benson, told FOX 4 that he doesn’t want to believe it’s possible that his brother participated in the horrific abuse of a child.
“Like I said, it’s shady,and I feel bad for what happened, but I’m just glad that she’s where she’s at now,” said Corey Benson. “She’s doing better, and I hope she gets better and better. That’s all I have to say.”
Neighbor Lovell Walker says that he once allowed Prince and one of her other daughters to sleep in his home during one cold winter night because Prince did not have natural gas service. He says that he now believes that the girl must have spent the night in the cold, dark closet.
“It’s really shocking,” said Walker. “Other than him going down to the tell the police he didn’t know the child was there, that’s really absurd.”
The arrest warrant for Marcus Benson carries a $100,000 bond. Prince is scheduled to return to court on August 9th.
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