News 9 is learning more about the 5-year-old Oklahoma City girl who was neglected and abused by her mother, and forced to live in a closet. Now we've learned the Department of Human Services case worker who found her is being credited with saving the girl's life.
7/28/2011 Related Story: OKC Mother Charged With Abusing Malnourished Child
Olivia Kyaterekera is being credited and is being awarded the highest honor a DHS case worker can receive. She will receive that award from both the Director of DHS, as well as from one of the commissioners entrusted with overseeing the state agency.
Kyaterekera told News 9 when she arrived at this house in southeast Oklahoma City, no one would answer the door at first. But she persisted, and someone finally opened the door.
Kyaterekera again persisted when they did not want to let her inside to see the child. Once the child was finally brought out, what she saw was heartbreaking.
She said the little girl could hardly walk as she took her to the closet where she was forced to stay. Kyaterekera said she saw a cup full of urine and feces in the closet, as well as a plastic gate used to keep the little girl barricaded inside.
The little girl's mother pled guilty earlier this week to child abuse and neglect. Aesusena Gonzales was sentenced to 20 years on Monday. Her mother and boyfriend are also facing charges of enabling the abuse.
11/29/2011 Related Story: OKC Mother Pleads Guilty To Abusing Young Daughter
As for the little girl, News 9 is told she is thriving in the care of her new foster family. Amazing considering when she was found, she could hardly walk or talk, and weighed only 19 pounds.