RANDLEMAN, N.C. -- Two people were arrested after a 5-year-old girl was found locked in a closet badly burned and bruised Tuesday in Randleman.
Randleman Police say the child's grandmother told them she was worried the child was being physically and mentally abused and asked them to do a welfare check earlier in September.
When police arrived to the house Tuesday, there were no cars in the driveway and no one appearing to be home. After calling the child's name outside the home, she said she needed help and when asked if okay, she distantly said 'no.'
Police went into the home through a window on the front porch after knocking on the door with no response from inside the home.
The girl was found inside a two foot-by-four foot closet under a stairway. The child had no food or water and appeared to be extremely malnourished with burns, scratches and bruises about her body. Police said the only other thing in the closet were two containers of rat poison.
The child was removed from the scene and taken to the police department. Officers had an employee of the daycare the child had attended there so she would see a familiar face and feel safe. No one else was found in or around the home.
The child's 33-year-old father Adam Joshua Byrd and 34-year-old Crystal Dawn Carnahan, deemed an acquaintance and child care taker by Randleman police, were arrested and charged with Felony Child Abuse, among other charges. Both were placed in the Randolph County Jail under a $350,000 secure bond.
"I don't think I'll ever forget her face when she came out of the house," says Tracy Harrell, owner of Randleman Enrichment Center, a daycare on Main St. Police asked Harrell to come with them to the home so the child would see a familiar face.
"I was in shock," Harrell says. "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 - she latched on to me and just kept saying 'don't leave.'"
Police say the child was in the care of her great uncle last year, but was returned to her father's custody in June. The daycare didn't see her much after that.
"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."
The child was turned over to DSS employees and the child was taken to Randolph Hospital and later transferred to Brenner Children’s Hospital.