An Arkansas man was arrested after a child was found hidden in a closet that had been nailed shut


A northwest Arkansas man was arrested after police found his child in a hidden closet compartment that had been bolted shut while assisting state officials who were trying to detain the minor, authorities said.

John Thompson, 40, of Tontitown, was arrested Friday and charged with endangering the welfare of a minor, first-degree false imprisonment, interference with custody, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of body armor, the Washington County Prosecutor’s Office said Tuesday.

A DA spokesperson said he has not yet been charged.

Child abuse (Courtesy Tontitown PD)

Child abuse (Courtesy Tontitown PD)

The child is 5 years old, NBC affiliate KNWA Rogers reported.

Tontitown police released body camera video of the discovery as they worked with Arkansas Department of Human Services employees to secure custody of Thompson’s child, the partially redacted incident report states.

The 22-second video shows a man in overalls and a backwards hat kneeling in a closet. The man crouches under the shirts hanging in the closet.

A voice can be heard saying: “My love,” “My love.” Voices are also heard in the video saying: “Oh dear,” as the man is shown opening the hidden compartment.

The closet compartment was hidden and bolted shut, according to the incident report.

“John moved some boxes and then had to pull out a board that was screwed to the wall to access a small space behind the closet wall,” the incident report said.

She added: “John admitted to hiding… inside the cabin so that DHS would not detain him.”

Thompson could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

A representative for the district attorney’s office said no attorney was listed for Thompson, who was issued a $5,000 bond, which was posted Sunday. He is scheduled to stand trial on December 4.

According to the police report, Thompson initially did not allow authorities into the home on Wednesday. He filed paperwork indicating he was granted custody of the child on October 24, the report says. Officers then presented Thompson with documents stating that the state had obtained a detention order, the incident report said.

The report did not include details about why the state granted custody of the child.

The Department of Human Services oversees the Division of Children and Family Services. A Department of Homeland Security spokesman declined to comment Tuesday.

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