Malnourished Girl, 10, Found Locked in Closet

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A 10-year-old girl was discovered locked in a closet Friday morning and police say it's apparent she had been there for a while.

Police say they received a hotline call about the child and responded to the 1300 block of Highland at about 9:30 a.m. They say the girl's condition and the condition of the closet indicate she had been there for an extended period of time. She was severely malnourished and a neighbor says she "doesn't look like a ten-year-old should."

"From the whole time that we've been down here for three to four years, I never knew she had a third child," said Kimberly Kelly, a neighbor.

Police say when they opened the door, the girl was squashed into the closet. The girl was taken to the hospital for treatment while police obtained a search warrant and then spent Friday afternoon collecting evidence inside the home.

The girl's mother, Jacole Prince, and the mother's boyfriend, Marcus Benson, were located and taken into custody. Two other children in the home are now in protective custody.

"The lady herself is very quiet," said Kelly. Basically she had two other children that looked fine. Very clean. Very everything. They seemed to have fun. They had music on. They were outside all day," she said.

Kelly and her daughter saw authorities take the girl away.

"She doesn't look like a normal 10-year-old child. Malnourished. Unclean. She just doesn't look like a 10-year-old should," she said.

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