OKLAHOMA CITY — It was an outrageous case of child abuse from the summer of 2011. An Oklahoma City mother locked her own baby in a closet for two years. The story did not end there.
NewsChannel 4’s Ali Meyer went searching for that tiny victim and found she has made quite a miraculous recovery.
When Oklahoma City Police first responded to the house they found a handful of healthy children living with their mother Asusena Marie Gonzales.
But there was one, a five-year-old girl, who was kept separate from her siblings.
According to Oklahoma City Police records, the mother didn’t like the little girl because she “looked like her father.”
Gonzales admitted to authorities she locked her own daughter in the closet for two years.
Detectives found a “cup (she used) to urinate and defecate in.”
The girl was starved nearly to death, covered in hair to regulate her body temperature.
The responding officer wrote, “You could see the bones at her joints.”
The victim couldn’t walk.
Foster parents Clint and Amanda Lile took over as temporary guardians for the young victim in the hospital were she was diagnosed as “failure to thrive” and treated for severe malnutrition.
“Her body just looked like it might never heal. I remember when I asked the DHS worker, ‘Is she going to live?’ And she said. ‘I don’t know.'” said Amanda Lile.
At five years old, the young victim weighed just 19 pounds.
Authorities believe the five-year-old girl had been locked in the closet for at least two years.
“In the hospital they would roll the food tray down the hall, and she would hear it. She knew that that was her time to eat, and when it passed her door to start with the rooms at the end of the hall, if she had a bow in her hair she would rip it out and throw it on the floor. She would tear her shoes off and throw them on the floor because she knew that was her time to eat. That was pretty hard to watch.” Clint Lile remembers.
Eventually, that little girl came home with the Liles.
She joined their family.
They called her Georgia.
“As she began talking she told us more about being stuck in the closet. We know that it was dark. She talks about having a bowl of cereal. So we know that had a huge impact on her.” Amanda Lile said.
Her transformation was swift, and it was complete.
“We just really saw God begin to heal her like nothing we ever thought possible. It was crazy.” Amanda Lile said. “I really believe it was the healing power of God and by the grace of God that she’s still alive. She’s just our little miracle.”
Some of Georgia’s first steps were taken while walking into kindergarten just a few months after she’d be released from the hospital.
In the coming years she would learn to talk; to laugh; to live.
It has been two years since she first came home with the Lile family.
Doctor Suess is a regular in the Liles’ home.
Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss is appropriately Georgia’s favorite.
While her body has healed from the scars of those years of abuse Georgia hasn’t been able to forget.
“I lived with Maria, and she was bad, and she locked me up in the closet, and I didn’t have any food or any water or anything to eat or drink. I only slept and never came out. And now I live here.” Georgia said with a smile.
Sadness doesn’t last long in in her house.
It’s adoption month for Georgia.
“Now she’s old enough to understand. She’s incredibly smart. She was just excited all morning. For weeks she’s been asking, ‘Is today my adoption day? Is today my adoption day?'”
Born into torture, locked in a closet, life is now full of possibility for Georgia Lile.
Friday June 7th, Georgia was officially adopted by Clint and Amanda Lile family; an Oklahoma County judge finalized the paperwork.
Two of her brothers are also adopted.
She has three siblings, Caleb, 7, Houston, 5, and Greyson, 4.
Clint and Amanda Lile are also caring for three foster children right now.