NEW YORK — Neighbors never saw the girl. And in all of her 11 years she apparently never went to school.
But somebody finally heard her cries for help. An anonymous 911 call led city police to the child, who lay crying and bleeding on a dingy bed in an abandoned Harlem brownstone.
The girl's mother, Betty Chappell, and her boyfriend, Ronald Sheffield, both 45, were charged with endangering the welfare of a child.
Police were called to the dilapidated, four-story building Friday morning. The apartment had no heat, electricity or hot water. Investigators said the girl was covered with dirt and oozing sores. It's also possible that she was sexually abused, police said.
The girl, who was not identified by police, was taken to St. Luke's Hospital and placed in the custody of the city's Administration for Children's Services. She was listed in stable condition.
Neighbors say the building where the child was found is a haven for drug addicts.
The Board of Education said it could find no record of the girl having ever attended school, although she could have been registered under a different name, according to published reports.
ACS spokeswoman Maggie Lear said that it was nearly impossible for the agency--which handles 50,000 cases a year--to have known of the girl's plight without her being in school.