A daycare owner who sensed that something was wrong with a child’s home situation decided to follow up on her gut feeling and make sure the little girl was okay. It turns out she was right to believe that something might be wrong, discovering the girl locked in a closet and suffering abuse from her parents. Tracy Harrell owns the Randleman Enrichment Center in Randleman, North Carolina, where the little girl attended.
Tracy went with the police officers when they conducted a welfare check on the little girl, but it appeared that no one was home. That’s when they heard a girl yelling for help after they called her name.
While the door to the home was locked, they were able to crawl in through a window, finding a closet under the staircase where the little girl was locked inside.
Tracy told Fox 8 that the little girl’s condition was very poor, describing her state in detail: “Her feet were black, her little hands were shaky. She had bit all her nails down until they were bleeding. Hair was shaved, what wasn’t had been pulled out so she had bald spots all over her head. Her face was dirty and cut up and she had bruises around her neck.”
Given her appearance, however, Tracy recognized the 5-year-old girl, explaining: “Little blonde curls and the big blue eyes. There was never a day when she left and she wouldn’t say, ‘I love you miss Tracy.’”
While officials were unclear about how long she had been in the closet, there was no food or water and she had bruises and burns on her body. Tracy explained how scared the little girl was, noting: “She clung to me and wrapped her arms around me. I had her laying here and she kept saying ‘please don’t leave me, please don’t leave me.’”
Tracy asked if she had eaten breakfast, trying to determine her last meal, and explained: “she said, ‘no.’ I said did you eat dinner last night? and she said, ‘no.’ I said when is the last time you ate and she said, ‘I don’t remember.’”
According to reports, there was also rat poison in the closet with the girl, but she didn’t touch it or try to eat it.
Tracy was hopeful for the little girl’s future, noting: “I hope that she gets put into a loving home and gets to be a normal little girl, not having to worry about when her next meal is coming or when a beating is going to happen or when her next burn is going to happen. Just hope she doesn’t have to know this fear ever again.”
Her parents, Adam Byrd and Crystal Carnahan, were arrested and charged with abuse, neglect, and assault with a weapon, with the 5-year-old in the custody of the Department of Social Services.
Many people weighed in with comments on social media, understandably disturbed by this child’s abusive living conditions, with most believing that her parents should face the same type of punishment they put her through.