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ST. LOUIS – A local woman is accused of abusing her two children.

Monique Latrice Winston, 27, is charged with two counts of kidnapping, four counts of abuse/neglect of a child, and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

According to the probable cause statement, police were called to the 4600 block of S. Spring Wednesday for a report of children left unattended.

When police arrived around 3:30 p.m., they heard kids screaming inside the apartment. Nobody answered when they knocked, so they entered the home and found a 5-year-old girl and her 3-year-old brother locked in separate closets. Police say the children were sitting on top of items piled inside the closets, such as clothes and a television. There were no lights inside the closets.

A neighbor told officers Winston and her boyfriend left the apartment around 9 a.m.

Documents state the children were extremely thin, and the female had lesions on her body. They were both taken to SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center. The girl was diagnosed with ringworm, which is a sign she was not bathed regularly, and showed signs of malnourishment.

The boy was also determined to be malnourished and diagnosed with ringworm. Doctors say his weight is in less than the fifth percentile for a child his age.

When interviewed, police say Winston admitted to putting her children in closets on multiple occasions, as often as "every other, three days."

Winston's boyfriend, Chavell Barrett, allowed NewsChannel 5 inside the south city apartment they share, and showed us where police say they found the two kids.

"These are the closets they were talking about right here," Barrett said, pointing out the two small, cluttered, dark closets where police say they discovered the kids.

Reporter: "Did she do it?"

"I don't know. I wasn't here at the time, you know, I was arrested and released," said Barrett. "I just feel so bad for Monique, you know, because I know that she's a really good mother."

Neighbor John Anderson feels sorry for the kids, living in what sounded to him like a hostile environment at all hours of the night.

"You can hear the kids getting yelled at," said Anderson. "And they're just screaming and, you know, stuff like that there."

Barrett says he stands by his partner of six months.

"She really does love her kids, you know, I don't want everyone to make her out to be a monster," he said.

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