By Eric L. Wesson Sr.
CALL Staff Writer
A Jackson County jury found Ms. Jacole Prince, 31, guilty with the malnourishment of her daughter in 2012 whom she kept in a closet where the girl was forced to live.
The jury also found her guilty of three other felony counts which included assault in the first-degree, first-degree child abuse and endangering the welfare of a child and recommended sentences of 20 years, seven years and seven years respectively, to be served concurrently on those counts.
The jury concluded their deliberations Friday, Nov. 20, after a week long trial.
Prince’s 10-year-old daughter weighed 32 pounds when she was found in the closet.
LP was rescued June 22, 2012, when a social worker and a police officer responding to a state hotline call discovered the girl in the closet. Her story shocked the community and prompted a battle over the release of records after child tragedies.
The Missouri Department of Social Services finally released records nearly a year after LP was found. The documents revealed that the girl was first removed from her mother’s care in February 2006 after Prince told medical personnel that she withheld food and water from her daughter to keep her from going to the bathroom so often.
In March 2007, family court officially returned LP to her mother.
The records show she soon vanished from sight. She stopped attending kindergarten in April 2007, and there was no indication that anyone ever reported her absence to the state.
Documents also indicate that Ms. Prince never received a psychological evaluation after LP was removed from her home in 2006.
Ms. Prince admitted, then, that she intentionally withheld food from her 4-year-old daughter to keep her from going to the bathroom too often.
The girl weighed just 26 pounds, the size many babies reach at 18 months. Already malnourished, and continuing to lose weight, she had to be hospitalized.
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