‘Her feet were black, her little hands were shaky’: Daycare owner describes finding girl, 5, locked in small closet under stairway

A daycare owner arrived at a little girl’s home last week, when North Carolina police officers rescued her from a small closet. The distraught daycare owner described in detail the signs of abuse the child suffered, reportedly at the hands of her own father.

FOX8 reports that Tracy Harrell, owner of the Randleman Enrichment Center, a daycare facility where the little girl once attended, watched as officers carried the child out of the Randleman home, where she was locked inside a tiny closet under the stairway in her father’s home. The girl had no food or water while locked inside the two-foot by four-foot closet, and had obvious signs of trauma.

“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,” Harrell said.

Harrell also said she hardly recognized the little girl who used to attend her daycare. The 5-year-old’s once-curly blonde hair matted down and dirty in spots that weren’t cut or shaved off, and the brightness in her blue eyes had disappeared.

“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.”

Police found the girl with cuts and bruises all over her body, and located rat poison inside the closet where her father, Adam Byrd, and her “caretaker,” Crystal Carnahan, reportedly left her. Authorities reported that luckily, the child never touched the poison.

“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,” Harrell said. “Just hope she doesn’t have to know this fear ever again.”

What You Need to Know

Authorities responded to a call for a welfare check at a home off of the 200 block of Back Street in Randleman on September 12. The caller, reportedly the child’s step-grandmother, told a 911 dispatch operator that a girl who lived in the home was being abused, both physically and mentally. The woman said she hadn’t heard from the little girl since June. Police reported the call was one of several that the step-grandmother made in regards to the child.

When officers previously went to the home, no one answered the door and they didn’t hear any noises inside. When they arrived to the home on September 12, no one answered the door again. They also noted no cars were in the driveway. After knocking a few more times on the door, the deputies yelled out the child’s name and heard a response back from the girl.

The officers asked the girl if she was OK. When she replied that she was not, they entered the home through a window on the front porch. Once inside, the found the 5-year-old locked inside a small closet, measuring two-foot by four-foot, under a stairway.

Police noted that the child had bruises, cuts, and scratches all over her body. She was left inside the closet without food or water and appeared extremely malnourished. Authorities called a daycare worker, who arrived at the home and took the child to a local hospital. She was later transferred to the Brenner’s Children’s Hospital, and later into the custody of the the Randolph County Department of Social Services.

Authorities arrested the little girl’s dad, Adam Joshua Byrd, and Crystal Dawn Carnahan, the child’s supposed “caretaker.” Both suspects face charges of negligent child abuse with serious physical injury, assault with deadly weapon/serious injury, and intentional child abuse with serious physical injury.

Byrd and Carnahan remain in the Randolph County Jail with a secure bond of $350,000.

[Feature Photo: Randolph County Jail]