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RANDLEMAN, N.C. — Tracy Harrell says she was there when police rescued a 5-year-old locked inside a small closet inside a Randleman home. Police say the child was neglected and abused.

“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,” said Harrell, the owner of the Randleman Enrichment Center.

Harrell says she couldn’t believe the little girl that police say was locked in a small closet was the same 5-year-old that used to go to her daycare in Randleman.

“Little blonde curls and the big blue eyes,” Harrell said. “There was never a day when she left and she wouldn’t say, ‘I love you miss Tracy.’”

That bond was there the moment the child was freed.

“She clung to me and wrapped her arms around me,” Harrell said. “I had her laying here and she kept saying ‘please don’t leave me, please don’t leave me.’”

Police have not told us how long the girl was in a closet underneath the staircase, but did say we she came out with burns, bruises and had no access to food and water.

“I said did you eat breakfast this morning? And she said, ‘no.’ I said did you eat dinner last night? and she said, ‘no.’ I said when is the last time you ate and she said, ‘I don’t remember.’”

Police say there was rat poison inside the closet where she was being kept, but fortunately the child never touched it.

“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.”

The 5-year-old is in the custody of the Department of Social Services.

The girl’s dad, Adam Bryd, and Crystal Carnahan were charged with abuse, neglect and assault with a weapon.