Records released for girl, 10, found starving in closet

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- State records involving the 10-year-old Kansas City girl found starving in a closet last summer have finally been released by the Missouri Department of Social Services.

The girl, known only by her initials L.P., weighed just 32 pounds when she was rescued by police and child protection workers. She was found on June 22, 2012 after an anonymous tip to the state's child abuse hotline.

State records in the case total more than 1,200 pages and many names are redacted.

FOX 4 has not finished reading through the entire file, but has learned that L.P. was first placed in foster care in 2006. Her mother, Jacole Prince, had brought L.P. to Children's Mercy Hospital in Oct. 2005 because she thought L.P. had poisoned herself by drinking Pine Sol.

Doctors discovered L.P. was extremely malnourished and suffering from neglect. Prince admitted to doctors in 2005 that she withheld food as punishment because L.P. wasn't potty trained.

L.P. was placed in foster care in early 2006, but was soon given to her mother's boyfriend, Marcus Benson. State records suggest L.P's biological father is in jail. Benson is the father of Jacole Prince's two younger daughters, who are now 9 and 3. State records indicate Jacole Prince regained custody in 2007 after attending parenting classes.

What FOX 4 hasn't been able to determine, is exactly what kind of follow through, if any, social workers made between 2007 and 2012 to ensure L.P.'s health and development. It turns out L.P. started in 2006 Kindergarten but was pulled out of school and never returned.

A state caseworker described Prince as "motivated" in 2006 to get L.P. back. But after regaining custody, doctors at Children's Mercy found that L.P. received no medical care between 2007 and 2012 and weighed more when they first treated her at age 4, then when she was rescued from a closet six years later.

Jacole Prince is awaiting trial on child abuse charges. Her boyfriend Marcus Benson has since pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a minor and received probation.
twitter: @fox4roblow

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