Police in Randleman, NC, rescued a five-year-old girl on Tuesday who was locked in a closet measuring two-feet by four-feet beneath a staircase, CBS News reported. The little girl had no food and no water. In addition to finding the small girl, the only other item officers discovered in the closet were two containers of rat poison. She had scratches and bruises covering her body. She was also badly burned and was extremely malnourished.

According to Fox News, police responded to a plea from the child’s grandmother, Linda Benskey, was worried that the girl was being mentally and physically abused.

Officers conducted a welfare check on September 12. When officers arrived, it seemed that there was no one home. There were no vehicles parked in the driveway. But officers didn’t relent. They called the little girl’s name from outside the house. The child responded, saying she needed help. When the officers asked her if she was all right, the little girl told them that she was not okay.

Officers knocked on the front door. There was no response from anyone inside, so they went to the front porch, broke into the house, and entered through a window. Then, they found the girl locked in the small closet.

Police wanted small girl feeling safe once free from house

Police had taken daycare worker Tracy Harrell – who the girl knew – to the house with them to assure the child saw someone she recognized outside the home and would feel safe, Police Chief Steve Leonard stated.

Harnell, who owns Randleman Enrichment Center, said she was shocked by the girl’s appearance but happy to have been there when police rescued the child. Harnell said the small girl latched onto her and kept repeating, “Don’t leave,” WFMY News reported.

Father and care taker arrested, in custody

Adam Joshua Byrd, 33, is the child’s father.

Randleman Police arrested him along with his acquaintance Crystal Dawn Carnahan, 34, who is reportedly a child care taker, as well. Byrd and Carnahan have been charged with felony child abuse, assault with a deadly weapon, and neglect. The duo had their first appearance before a judge yesterday at the Randolph County Courthouse.

Each was appointed an attorney in court.

Carnahan’s mother, Brenda Linebaugh, was also in court, defending her daughter. She described herself as feeling confused but certain that her daughter did not harm the little girl.

Byrd and Carnahan are in custody at Randolph County Jail and are each being held on a $350,000 secured bond. Their next court date is in October.

Grandmother says police saved small girl

After the child was taken to Randolph Hospital, she was transferred to Brenner Children’s Hospital. She was placed in the care of the Department of Social Services (DSS), according to police. Since Byrd is Benskey’s stepson, she is not considered immediate family, so the little girl cannot stay with her.

Benskey said that she has no doubt that the police saved her granddaughter.

The little girl was in the care of her great uncle last year, according to police. She was placed back in Byrd’s custody in June. After her father had custody, Harnell said that the daycare didn’t see the child very often.

Daycare worker went to court, wanting to advocate for little girl

Harnell said that she was in disbelief that the little girl police rescued was the same child who went to daycare. Without fail, the girl used to tell her when she left daycare each day, “I love you miss Tracy,” Fox 8 reported. The moment the little girl was freed, the bond between her and Harnell was instant. Harnell was also in court yesterday, stating that someone needs to advocate for the little girl.