Man Arrested After 5-Year-Old Girl Found Hidden in Closet

An Arkansas resident was apprehended after law enforcement officers discovered a 5-year-old girl concealed in a secret compartment of his closet. The dramatic rescue was recorded on the bodycam of a Tontitown Police Department officer. The footage shows the accused extracting the child from a tiny area in the closet that had been sealed with nails, as reported by KSMF-TV on Friday.

The homeowner, identified as John Thompson, was taken into custody and faces charges of first-degree child endangerment and interference with court-ordered custody, as per USA Today. The police had arrived at Thompson’s residence with a search warrant to assist the Arkansas Department of Human Services in taking custody of the girl. However, Thompson initially denied the child’s presence in his home.

During a half-hour dialogue with the authorities, Thompson finally conceded when officials heard noises emanating from behind a wall. Thompson was then seen on his knees in a closet, moving boxes and pulling a nailed board off the wall to reveal a small space from where the child emerged, as per the local station’s report.

The police described the hidden space as a triangular void, possibly ranging from six to eight feet wide at its broadest point and narrowing down to two to four feet. The child was reportedly unharmed physically but seemed to be emotionally traumatized by the ordeal. She was subsequently placed under the care of the Department of Human Services.

Detective Keith Lindley shared with the newspaper that the child was extremely emotional and frightened when she emerged from the hidden space. He added that Thompson had instructed her to remain silent and not disclose her location. Thompson, who was reportedly out on bond for a methamphetamine charge in a neighboring jurisdiction, pleaded not guilty to the charges related to this case.