how sickening

  1. Stepfather Of Girl Locked In Closet On Trial For Abuse
    Kenneth Atkinson Accused Of Causing Serious Bodily Injury To Girl

    POSTED: 8:18 a.m. CST December 5, 2002
    UPDATED: 2:34 p.m. CST December 5, 2002

    DALLAS -- A neighbor of a man accused of confining his stepdaughter for months in a filthy closet testified at his trial Thursday about discovering the emaciated 8-year-old who weighed only 25 pounds.

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    Girl In Closet Trial Begins




    The girl was naked in the lice-infested and feces-strewn closet, her hair was matted and one of her eyes was swollen shut.

    "You don't ever expect to see something like that. It was horrifying," said Jeanie Rivers.


    Kenneth Atkinson is charged with causing serious bodily injury to his stepdaughter, was just 3 feet tall when she was rescued from a Hutchins mobile home closet in June 2001.

    Rivers' husband alerted authorities after Atkinson showed Rivers the girl locked in a closet in the trailer he shared with his wife. The girl's mother, Barbara Atkinson, was sentenced to life in prison for depriving the child of food, water, clothes and a toilet.

    Rivers said she cried at the sight of the girl.

    "I asked if he hugged her, kissed her, let her know he loved her," Rivers said. On cross-examination, Rivers said Atkinson answered that he did all those things.

    Kenneth Atkinson cried, his shoulders shaking, when Rivers testified about the other five children in the home.

    Although the sixth child had been hidden from neighbors, Kenneth Atkinson was the caregiver to the others, "feeding them, clothing them, brushing them and playing with them," Rivers said.

    Before testimony began, Kenneth Atkinson pleaded not guilty to the injury charge. Prosecutors waived opening statements.

    The 35-year-old man also is charged with sexual assault of a child, but prosecutor Patricia Hogue said she expects to try him only on the injury charge. If convicted, he could face five years to life in prison.

    Kenneth Atkinson's attorneys said he was a battered husband who never called police because he was embarrassed.

    Defense lawyer Malcolm Dade said his client was fearful of his wife, who threatened to take away his children. When she was away, he would sometimes let the girl out of the closet and feed her, he said.

    That wasn't enough, prosecutors said.

    "She was living in his home and under his roof," Hogue said. "He had access to her and was ... in charge of that child."

    Kenneth Atkinson told authorities that the girl had been confined to the closet for "a year or so," said Hutchins Fire Department Capt. Ryan Woolever.

    Prosecutors believe she had been confined for months at a time over several years. Court documents show the child told authorities that both parents denied her food and forced her to live in the closet.

    The girl appeared to be no older than 4, Woolever said.

    "The paleness of her skin appeared to be that of someone who hadn't had sunlight in a long time," he said about the girl, who he said was very frail and had sunken facial features.

    The girl has since been adopted by a couple who had tried to adopt her at birth.

    A judge has terminated the Atkinsons' parental rights to the girl's five siblings, who are living in a foster home and available for adoption. Kenneth Atkinson is the biological father of three of the children these people should be put to death. hard to believe things like this actually happen. how sad!
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
  4. by   CATHYW
    Some people should be spayed/neutered at puberty, and be done with it!
  5. by   live4today
    How sick sick sick this kind of stuff is to read about let alone live through. Those poor innocent children. I sure hope they are placed in loving foster homes, or adopted by loving and caring parents. They deserve so much better than they've already been put through in their young lives.
  6. by   kids
    Originally posted by tiger
    ...The girl has since been adopted by a couple who had tried to adopt her at birth...
    Obviously her bio-parents loved their *so much* they couldn't bear to part with her.

    This just makes me want to puke.
  7. by   tattooednursie
    That poor poor little girl . . .can you immagine not even be allowed to use the toilet!!! I mean thats the only relaxation I get! I cannot see not having toilet privalages . . . I need to have my food privalages taken away because I'm fat, but for months!!!! that is mean and her parents should be put to death . . .


    ever read the book 'a child called it?' it is a story written by a boy who was aboused and his mother would like starve him for months and brought him chewed up scraps and said things like "here ya go . . . heres the scraps . . ". and when he gets ready to take a bite she takes it away and shays "Just kidding!!!!" People who have abused their children need to be SHOT. I have never been abused, but I know a thing or two abot child abuse and I am writing a book on it currently. I wanna do my part to prevent child abuse, because its just wrong!
  8. by   New CCU RN
    so very sad...how could someone do that? poor little girl..
  9. by   suzannasue
    So sad...but too frequently seen in the world...I agree that some folks should be neutered while in puberty...
    Hmmm...about 10 years ago, I was summoned to have a conference with my youngest daughter's principal and school advisor...daughter was in the 5th grade...was informed that THEY were highly suspicious of her home envronment, felt there was abuse involved because she was very observant regarding her teacher's appearance and often hugged her teacher, and would tell her she loved her. I had to do a lot of deep breathing during this meeting, was wanting to open a sack of whoop ass on these women...I told them in no uncertain terms that I was raising 3 very intelligent, caring, human beings...I told them that she was well fed, clothed and came home every day to hearing how she and my other girls are loved. I asked them if they had ever seen her with bruises and the answer was "no". I asked them if she had ever told them she was being mistreated and they said "no".
    I then proceeded to tell them that there were children attending that very school who would benefit from a meeting like this with THEIR parents but as far as I was concerned they were WAY OFF base with that meeting and that if the worst thing she ever did was express her affection to a teacher, the I felt the world would benefit from her expressions of kindness. I was then told that I could expect a visit from the child protection agency... I said "BRING IT ON, my lawyer will be waiting for them"... I was given cold stares in an attempt to intimidate me...I also told them that they should organze their efforts on those children who needed the attention...the evidence was there...they should open their eyes and SEE for a change instead of drumming up suspicion around a loving child....
    Within 2 weeks of that meeting, one of her classmates was absent for a couple of days...Ricky's body was found tied up in a closet...bound with electrical wire, duct tape over his mouth and nose...his father had told him to "shut up" and made sure nary another noise was heard from the boy...
    I walked into the principal's office and said to her " Did you counsel HIS parents? Did you even notice HIM? NO!!! You were too busy minding MY business" ...
    Some children suffer everyday...if the abuse is severe enough, they are removed from that environment and placed elsewhere, only to be put back into that same abusive environment...I cheer for those states that make it difficult for abusive parents to regain custody of their children...unfortunately, I do not live in such a state. Child abusers of any type will never recieve the punishment THEY deserve !!!!!
  10. by   canoehead
    God bless that little girl. I hope she is loved and has adults cheering her on in her new home.
  11. by   renerian
    Makes me want to adopt her..................

    renerian
  12. by   emily_mom
    Reminds me of that country song called The Little Girl (I think by John Michael Montgomery). Makes me bawl every time I hear it.

    I hope to God that the new parents get her lots of help. And, I think an eye for an eye is suitable punishment for the parents. I'd like to see that...
  13. by   researchrabbit
    I get the Dallas paper (because the Oklahoma City paper is so awful) and have been following this story. Mom has no remorse and at some point said the child "deserved it".

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