Two Independence women face child abuse charges for allegedly keeping a 10-year-old child locked in a filthy basement without food.
Prosecutors charged Chianna Hendrix, 25, and LaTrecia L. Hendrix, 36, of the 400 block of North Ponca Drive, with one count of abuse or neglect of a child causing serious emotional or physical injury. Bond for each was set at $100,000.
According to court records, Chianna Hendrix is the biological mother of the victim. Online records indicate the two women were married in March 2009 in Provincetown, Mass.
According to court records filed Tuesday, the child was discovered to be emaciated and underdeveloped and covered in scratches and bruises.
A 5-year-old at the home told an investigator the women often beat the victim for stealing food and kept the victim locked in the basement with the door tied shut.
Investigators found bottles of urine on the basement floor, feces on a bed with minimal bedding and no clothing.
Police became aware of the victim Monday after the child ran away from home.
The court documents do not indicate whether the victim is a boy or a girl. A neighbor said she occasionally has seen children of various ages at the house but rarely together. She said a boy she rarely sees appeared small.
“I haven’t seen him in a long time,” said neighbor Jennifer Alexander. “They moved in over the summer. They kept to themselves.”
According to court documents, the abuse victim immediately became ill when police fed the child. An ambulance took the child to an Independence hospital and then to Children’s Mercy Hospital. Police observed fingernail scratches all over the child’s neck and face. The child was not able to control its bladder or bowel.
There was bruising all over the child’s body, and the ribs were visible from a lack of body fat and muscle, the court records said.
Police obtained consent to search the Ponca Drive home and discovered the victim’s bedroom in the basement. The 5-year-old told an investigator that the victim had been locked in the basement to prevent the victim from coming upstairs for food.
According to court documents, the women admitted to police they knew the child needed medical attention but they didn’t take the child to a doctor for about two years because they had no health insurance.
Chianna Hendrix told police the child vomits every time the child eats. She said the scratch marks were caused by the child.
She also said the child’s inability to control the bladder led to nightly bed-wetting and she had the child wipe the mattress down weekly while the bedding was being washed.
LaTrecia Hendrix denied any other type of abuse or neglect but said the child was punished for “stealing” food.
“It was weird how I never saw the kids outside playing together,” said Alexander, the neighbor. “I would see one kid walking the dog at midnight or 3 a.m. and thought, ‘Why isn’t anyone watching this kid?’ Ponca is a main street and people drive fast.”