Missing Child Found Hidden in Closet

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A 5-year-old girl was rescued from a secret compartment inside a closet in Tontitown, Arkansas, on November 3, 2023, in the home of her father, John Thompson.

The Tontitown Police Department, equipped with bodycam technology, recorded the critical moments of the rescue, revealing the adverse conditions the child had endured. Thompson faces serious legal consequences, including charges related to child endangerment and disobeying court-ordered custody.

Bodycam footage, released by the police, shows the discovery of the girl when officers arrived at Thompson’s home to execute a search warrant. This operation was conducted with the Arkansas Department of Human Services to comply with a court order for the child’s custody. Thompson, 40, initially refused to acknowledge the child’s presence in his house.

The situation developed when Thompson, after extensive questioning and a 30-minute conversation with the police, guided them to the hidden spot. During the search, noises were heard from behind a closet wall, leading Thompson to reveal the compartment by moving boxes and dismantling a nailed board. The child was found in this small, enclosed space. Police estimate that the triangular-shaped space was 6-8 feet wide, tapering to 2-4 feet.

Rescued by the officers, the girl was unharmed but visibly distressed. She was immediately placed under the care of the Department of Human Services. Details about how long and why the child was kept in the compartment are still being investigated.

Thompson hid his daughter in the closet to prevent her from being taken by social services. Facing first-degree child endangerment and custody interference charges, he has pleaded not guilty.

The investigation into the case is ongoing, with further information expected as legal proceedings advance. The incident has garnered attention for its depiction of the vital roles played by law enforcement and child protective services in ensuring the safety of minors. The timely actions of the Tontitown Police and the Department of Human Services were crucial in the child’s rescue.

Detective Keith Lindley reported that Thompson was under bond for a methamphetamine charge at the time of his latest arrest.

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