Mom of 32-pound girl found in closet pleads guilty to abuse - KCTV5

Mom of 32-pound girl found in closet pleads guilty to abuse

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Jacole Prince was scheduled to go on trial in June for abuse and neglect after her daughter was found living in a closet with little food. Jacole Prince was scheduled to go on trial in June for abuse and neglect after her daughter was found living in a closet with little food.
Jacole Prince in court Tuesday. Jacole Prince in court Tuesday.
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The mother of a malnourished girl whose story drew national headlines has entered a guilty plea in court in exchange for a plea deal.

Jacole Prince admitted to starving her own 10-year-old daughter, known as LP in court documents, and locking the child in a closet in 2012 where she slept and went to the bathroom.

For a moment in court Tuesday morning, the plea agreement almost didn't happen.

When a Jackson County judge read the charges to Prince and told her the sentence would be 20 years, she did not agree.

The hearing went into recess while Prince spoke with her attorneys. But 15 minutes later, Prince came back and pleaded guilty to three counts, including assault, child abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. She said nothing as she walked out of the Jackson County courtroom afterwards.

Prince admitted to tying the door to the closet with shoes strings and not feeding her daughter every day. The girl hadn't attended school since kindergarten.

It wasn't until a call into the child abuse hotline led Kansas City police to the apartment at 1318 Highland Ave. and police found the girl severely malnourished and dirty. She weighed only 32 pounds.

The state said doctors would testify that she was so malnourished that she suffered heart failure and underwent heart transplant surgery earlier this year. She will have long-lasting developmental problems.

Prince did tell the judge the she felt she suffered from depression. But her attorneys said it did not rise to the level of defense against these charges.

Prince will be sentenced April 25, and in exchange for her guilty plea agreement, prosecutors have agreed to seek a prison sentence of no more than 20 years.

Marcus Benson, the boyfriend of Prince, pleaded guilty to child endangerment in May. Benson is not LP's father, but prosecutors said he was regularly at Prince's home and was aware of LP's living conditions.

As far as how the little girl is doing today, family connected to the case didn't know. When asked, Sheila Simpson, Benson's sister, said she didn't know where LP was, only that she was in the custody of the state.

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