Experts say 32-pound Mo. girl faces long recovery

Jun 25, 2012, 11:19 PM

Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – A severely malnourished 10-year-old Kansas City girl who was found locked in a closet remained hospitalized Monday and likely faces an extended recovery after an initial “failure to thrive” diagnosis, experts said.

Police found the 32-pound girl Friday after responding to a call from a child abuse hotline. She was taken to Children’s Mercy Hospital on Friday and remained there Monday, said Mike Mansur, spokesman for the Jackson County prosecutor’s office. He said the child’s condition hasn’t been released.

“The next few months of her life are going to be pretty critical to her recovery,” said Ann Thomas, a vice president at The Children’s Place, a Kansas City nonprofit that is not involved in this case but treats young children who have experienced trauma.

The child’s 29-year-old mother appeared in Jackson County court Monday. She was shackled at the wrists and quietly listened as a judge read the felony charges against her _ assault, child abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. The judge also entered a not guilty plea for the woman, who was ordered held on $200,000 cash bond. She requested a public defender for her next court appearance, scheduled for July 12.

The Associated Press is not naming the mother to protect the child’s identity. The mother’s two other children, ages 2 and 8, have also been placed in protective custody, Mansur said. Police also questioned the mother’s boyfriend, but he has not been charged. Mansur said the investigation is ongoing.

A probable cause statement police filed Saturday when the mother was charged said she told police she didn’t let the girl leave the house because the child is malnourished and she would “get in trouble if someone saw her.”

Hospital personnel who saw the child Friday said she had been at the hospital in January 2006 for an unspecified visit and weighed 26 pounds then, according to the probable cause statement. They also told police the 10-year-old wears a 2T, or toddler size, T-shirt, and that the “current diagnosis is multiple healing skin injuries and failure to thrive.”

Andre Riley, spokesman for Kansas City Public Schools, said Monday the child was enrolled as a kindergartner at Woodland Elementary School in 2006 and attended until April 2007.

“That’s the last record we have of her,” Riley said, adding that he couldn’t comment further about the child’s attendance record, whether school officials had raised concerns or where she might have attended school after spring 2007.

Rebecca Woelfel, spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Social Services, said in an email that the department could not comment on this specific case, but that DSS “strongly encourages anyone who suspects child abuse or neglect” to call the 24-hour hotline.

Dr. Doug Carlson, professor of pediatrics at Washington University in St. Louis and director of hospital medicine at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, said doctors are likely checking the child for various ailments, such as intestinal problems, that could have contributed to the diagnosis.

He said, however, a 6-pound weight gain should have pushed a parent to seek medical attention.

“There’s no question that based on this child’s size that a reasonable parent would have sought medical care,” Carlson said.

It’s unclear how much time the child, who turns 11 this summer, spent in the closet. In the probable cause statement, the child told police that her mother put her in the closet “a lot.” She also said that she wasn’t allowed to play outside when she was at home like her sisters, but could go to “the playground and park while she was at school.”

The mother told police that she puts the 10-year-old in the closet when she leaves the house, securing the door with shoelaces and blocking it with a crib, according to the probable cause statement. She said she did that because her daughter had once gotten out and “eaten until her stomach got big and full.”

Thomas said recovery would likely depend on what the 10-year-old’s home life was actually like and how she perceived it.

“She’s going to need people around her to help her begin to make sense of what’s going on,” Thomas said.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

FILE - South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem takes part in a panel discussion during a Republican Governors...
Associated Press

South Dakota gov’s veto of cryptocurrency regulations upheld

South Dakota’s House failed Monday to override Gov. Kristi Noem’s recent veto of a bill that would have created government regulations for the use of cryptocurrency in the state. The bill had passed smoothly throughout the legislature, and Noem’s veto of last week was upheld on a 36-30 vote. Proponents had argued the bill would […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Officials: No sign of contamination in Philadelphia water

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia water officials say they are monitoring water quality closely and have seen no sign of contamination following a chemical spill into the Delaware River in a neighboring county. Bucks County health officials said Sunday that a leak late Friday evening at the Trinseo Altuglas chemical facility in Bristol Township spilled between […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Idaho bill to provide free period products in schools fails

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A bill that would have provided free menstrual products in girls bathrooms in Idaho public schools failed in the state House, with at least one Republican lawmaker calling the proposal “very liberal.” The measure advanced earlier this month from the House Education Committee with a “do pass” recommendation. It failed on […]
13 hours ago
FILE - Belarusian army Su-25 jet fighters fly during a parade marking Independence Day in Minsk, Be...
Associated Press

Why does Russia want tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus?

The announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin that he intends to deploy tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus appears to be another attempt to raise the stakes in the conflict in Ukraine. It follows Putin’s warnings that Moscow is ready to use “all available means,” to fend off attacks on Russian territory, a […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

NJ takes over Paterson police after crisis worker’s shooting

New Jersey’s attorney general said Monday that his office has taken control of the police department in the state’s third-largest city, Paterson, less than a month after officers there fatally shot a well-known crisis intervention worker during a tense standoff. Attorney General Matt Platkin said at a news conference that his office had assumed control […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Zoo recovers 5 of 6 birds that escaped storm-damaged aviary

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — California’s Oakland Zoo has recovered all but one of six birds that flew the coop last week when a tree fell during a storm and damaged an aviary. A pied crow named Deauville was captured Saturday after an Oakland resident a few miles from the zoo reported that the distinctive black-and-white […]
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Experts say 32-pound Mo. girl faces long recovery