Abused 5-Year-Old Found Locked In Closet Under Stairs (Photo)

Abused 5-Year-Old Found Locked In Closet Under Stairs (Photo) Promo Image

A man and woman were arrested in North Carolina after authorities say they found a malnourished 5-year-old girl locked in a small closet underneath a stairway.

Adam Joshua Byrd, 33, and Crystal Dawn Carnahan, 34, are both charged with assault with a deadly weapon, intentional child abuse and negligent child abuse, according to WGHP.

Byrd is the girl's father. Carnahan is an acquaintance of Byrd's who officials described as a child caretaker.

On Sept. 12, Randleman Police performed a welfare check on the home after the child's grandmother called them and said she thought her granddaughter was being physically and mentally abused, WFMY reports.

When officers arrived at the residence, there were no cars in the driveway and the house appeared to be empty. After knocking on the door and getting no response, the officers began calling the little girl's name.

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That's when they heard her voice. They asked her if she was OK.

"No," the girl reportedly replied.

After confirming that she needed help, the officers entered the home through a window on the front porch and found that the child had been locked in a 2-foot by 4-foot closet beneath a stairwell.

There was no food or water in the closet, and the girl reportedly looked to be severely malnourished. She also had scratches, bruises and burns all over her body. According to police, the closet was totally empty except for two containers of rat poison.

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Byrd and Carnahan were arrested shortly after and taken to Randolph County Jail where they are being held in lieu of $350,000 bail.

Tracy Harrell, who knows the 5-year-old through the day care she owns, was present when police removed the girl from the house.

"I don't think I'll ever forget her face when she came out of the house," Harrell told WFMY. "I was in shock. I had no clue she would look as bad as she did. Plus, I was just happy to be there because she needed a loving [person] ... she latched onto me and just kept saying, 'Don't leave.'"

Harrell explained that the child hadn't been to her day care regularly since being returned to her father's custody in June. Before that, she was in the care of her great uncle.

"It was just shocking from seeing that healthy, clean, cute thriving child that we had all year, that this is what the child looks like now," she said.

The 5-year-old was taken to a hospital for treatment and is now in the custody of the Randolph County Department of Social Services.

Sources: WFMY, WGHP / Featured Image: Brian Moloney/Flickr / Embedded Images: WFMY, Pixabay

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