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Child locked in closet under stairs; father arrested

Posted at 11:09 AM, Sep 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-15 11:09:47-04

RANDLEMAN, NC (WGHP/CNN) - A woman who had been searching for months for her granddaughter discovered her trapped in a closet by her father, beaten, bruised and burned.

"The rest of her hair has been shaved, this child had blond curly - she was gorgeous," said Linda Benskey, the victim's grandmother. "She's got bruises. She's got scratches. She's got burns."

The 5-year-old girl was in the custody of her father, Adam Byrd, who is Benskey's stepson. She was worried the girl was being physically and mentally abused and called police.

"They got in, they got that youngin' and they saved her," Benskey said. "And I have no doubt they saved her. They saved her."

Randleman police searched the home Tuesday after hearing the girl call for help. Police brought a daycare worker on site to make sure the girl saw a friendly face.

"We wanted to make sure that there was somebody outside that she could focus on, recognize and feel safe," said Police Chief Steve Leonard.

The girl is now with the department of social services at Brenner Children's Hospital. Because Benskey is not immediate family, she couldn't stay with her.

"We told her we loved her, we blew her kisses and now we're stopped not knowing because of DSS," Benskey said.

She said her granddaughter has had a history of abuse and hope this never happens again.

"DSS has had three open cases; this is number four," she said. "The first one started when she was 2."

Byrd and the girl's caretaker, Crystal Carnahan, have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, along with multiple child abuse charges.

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