ROOSEVELT — A Roosevelt woman is facing felony child abuse charges after authorities say she repeatedly kept a young girl confined to a small coat closet for extended periods of time.

Rosita Sibello Reed, 45, was charged Thursday in 8th District Court with nine counts of inflicting serious physical injury on a child, a second-degree felony, and four counts of child abuse, a class A misdemeanor. She is also charged with one count of tampering with a witness, a third-degree felony.

Reed is accused of locking up a girl who was living with her and is now 9 years old in a closet multiple times between January 2008 and December 2010, “sometimes for more than 24 hours without light, without food or water or blankets,” said Roosevelt Police Chief Rick Harrison.

“We have witnesses that have the girl in the closet for more than 30 hours at one point,” Harrison said.

There was no lock on the closet door, so Reed used a knife to wedge it shut, the chief said. The girl's sister told police she would sometimes sneak food and water to the girl at night or let her out to use the bathroom.

During an interview with investigators, Reed said she put the child in the closet as a means of punishing her for misbehavior as minor as taking food from the refrigerator without permission, according to Harrison.

“She made some admissions, but downplayed her conduct,” the chief said.

There were three children living with Reed, Harrison said, but “one child received the brunt of the abuse.” Reed is also accused of striking another child with a paddle and throwing a mug at her.

Police executed a search warrant on Reed's house at 135 S. Alta Street in Roosevelt to photograph the closet and collect other evidence, the chief said.

“The conditions were fairly deplorable,” he said, noting that the toilets were filled with excrement because the house had no working plumbing. The TriCounty Health Department subsequently condemned the house until repairs are made and it is cleaned up, Harrison said.

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Reed no longer has custody of the three children, two of whom are not her biological children. The girl who was locked in the closet is receiving treatment in a mental health facility, Harrison said.

“This has caused some damage to her and it couldn't have been healthy for the other children in the home,” he said.

Police did not book Reed into jail because she has recently undergone major surgery. A date for her initial court appearance has not yet been scheduled.

E-mail: geoff@ubstandard.com Twitter: GeoffLiesik

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