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THE NATION | IN BRIEF / TEXAS

Mother on Trial in Case of Girl Kept in Closet

January 23, 2002|From Times Wire Reports

An 8-year-old girl was locked in a dark, filthy closet and weighed just 25 pounds when she was rescued last summer, a prosecutor said as the trial of the girl's mother got underway in Dallas.

"Without medical attention, she would have died," prosecutor Patricia Hogue said during opening statements in the trial of Barbara Atkinson, who is charged with serious bodily injury to a child.

Atkinson, 30, has pleaded not guilty. She faces life in prison if convicted of depriving her daughter of food and locking her in a closet for months at a time.

The girl now lives with a couple who had tried to adopt her as a baby. They say she is doing well.

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