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Woman arrested, suspected of locking child in closet

A 29-year-old woman was arrested in late June after police say they discovered her 10-year-old daughter in a filthy utility closet in the woman's home. Officers reported that the girl seemed to have spent a significant amount of time in the closet, which smelled strongly of human waste and was generally unfit for human habitation.

The accused mother has mounted a criminal defense campaign to fight the charges associated with the arrest, according to experts.

The woman's co-habiting boyfriend was also arrested in connection with the incident, said local law enforcement authorities.

Officers say they found the girl in a closet in the family's apartment after an anonymous tip to the child abuse hotline. The apartment manager opened the door to the property, and the girl was located quickly. She apparently was about a third of the size of a normal 10-year-old female, according to officers, indicating that she had been severely malnourished. Officers say they thought the door to the closet had been fixed so that it could only open from the outside.

Officers say they were unsure whether the woman had provided food for the girl during her alleged time in the closet. Law enforcement representatives took the woman into custody and remanded her other children into the state protective services system. Those two children are younger than the 10-year-old associated with this case.

Neighbors reported that they were unaware that the woman had a third child, since they had only ever seen the other two.

It is not yet clear exactly what charges the woman and man will be facing in connection with the incident. Furthermore, authorities have not said whether the pair will be released on bond, and if so, the amount of that bond is still undetermined. It is also not clear whether the woman or the man supposedly played a bigger role in the alleged crime.

Source: KansasCity.com, "KC police free child found locked in closet, arrest mom and boyfriend," Christine Vendel & Glenn Rice, June 22, 2012

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