A 34-year-old Sequoyah County man has been arrested after allegations of locking his 11-year-old son in his garage for at least two days with no food or water before the boy was able to escape.
According to Sequoyah County Undersheriff Greg Cox a man spotted the boy at approximately 1:30 a.m. digging in a dumpster at McQuick's Convenience Store north of Vian. When the man approached the boy and asked him what he was doing he replied that he was looking for food because he was, "starving to death". The man then called the Sequoyah County Sheriff's Dept.
Cox stated that when deputies arrived and began questioning the boy, he stated that he had been locked in a garage by his father without any food or water. He described a door in the garage that was kept tied shut with rope and had a crow bar pressed against it. He informed deputies that his father had let him out of the garage around 9 p.m. Monday night to use the restroom and had forgotten to re-lock the door.
The boy stated that he began walking to look for food. He had walked approximately seven miles from his home which was located in Northwest Sequoyah County near Eastlake Hills.
Deputies went to the boy's home to investigate and speak to the father. According to Cox, when deputies approached the father he said, "I guess you found him." When deputies asked to look in the garage the father refused and stated he wanted a lawyer.
A girlfriend living in the home gave the deputies consent to go in the garage where they discovered the rope used to tie the door, an air mattress, and a bottle filled with urine. There was no food or water in the garage. The girlfriend had two children who also reportedly lived in the home but they were found to not be in danger.
The father was placed under arrest and taken to the Sequoyah County Jail.
The Department of Human Services (DHS) was called and they arrived and took custody of the boy. Cox stated that he has been placed in foster care outside of the county. A DHS doctor who examined the boy stated that he was approximately 20-25 pounds under weight. He was also found to have 284 allegedly self-inflicted cuts on his body. When asked why he would do this to himself, he responded, "It was just too much to handle."
Cox added that a forensic interview has been scheduled for the young boy tomorrow with someone trained to question children without leading them. "Hopefully we can help this boy out," Cox said.
The father is currently being held on $15,000 bond and is charged with child abuse and child neglect. He is scheduled for arraignment Wednesday.
"This is not the father's first round with DHS," Cox stated. "He's had these types of crimes in his past."
Cox added that it's early in the investigation process and after talking with the District Attorney more charges could be added and/or the bond amount could be increased. The father's name is not being released at this time until more information about the case is known.
KXMX News Staff
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