A Kansas City couple has been charged with assault and child endangerment related to the alleged confinement of an 8-year-old girl, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced.
Jeffrey "Adam" Kraft, 34, and Michele L. Kraft, 28, each face a count of first-degree assault and first-degree endangering the welfare of a child.
According to court records, police officers responded on July 5 to a report of a child locked in a room and physically abused after someone called the Children's Division Hotline. When officers arrived at the home near Pacific Street and Troost Avenue, they found an 8-year-old girl locked in her bedroom from the outside. She was scrubbing the floor with bleach because she had urinated in the room. There was a strong odor of urine and trash and officers said the girl appeared to be malnourished.
According to court documents, the girl's 5-year-old sister was found by police sitting on two kitchen chairs pushed together to form a bed in the dining room.
The Krafts are the girls' aunt and uncle and are their legal guardians. The girls had been in the Kraft's care for about four years.
During an interview at the Child Protection Center, the older girl told officials the Krafts had pushed her into things, hit her on the back of the head and spanked her. She ate in her locked room and could only ask for something to drink once she heard the Krafts in the kitchen. The 8-year-old told officials she had not been to school since kindergarten, but was told to read daily.
The 8-year-old weighed 42 pounds, was 47" tall and medical records showed she had lost 6 pounds since the age of 5, while in the Krafts' care. She had not seen a medical provider in four years.
Jeffrey "Adam" Kraft told Children's Division that the girl had "serious problems" and "chooses to stay in her room." He later said keeping the girl in her room had been the only option that worked. According to court records, he admitted to having a "drinking problem" in the past and said Michele Kraft had been "overly emotional" since their baby had been born five months earlier.
The victim and other children in the home are in protective custody today.
Prosecutors have requested a $100,000 for each defendant. The assault charge carries a sentence of 10 to 30 years in jail while the endangerment charge carries a sentence of one to seven years.
The couple is expected to be arraigned Monday.
This is the second malnourished child case reported on in about a month.
"The sad day for Jackson County when not one, but two, little girls are in this kind of condition, both of them pretty seriously malnourished and experiencing abuse that we don't even like to think about," Baker said. "But it actually is a very good day. It's a day where two people are being held accountable for their actions."
More information on the first malnourished child case can be found to the left of this story.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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