TONTITOWN, Arkansas – A shocking discovery unfolded in Tontitown, Arkansas, as law enforcement officers rescued a 5-year-old girl who had been concealed in a secret compartment of a closet. The dramatic rescue was captured on the bodycam of a Tontitown Police Department officer, revealing the harrowing ordeal the child had endured. The homeowner, identified as John Thompson, now faces serious charges related to child endangerment and interference with court-ordered custody.
According to reports from KSMF-TV, 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. It was during a half-hour dialogue with the authorities that Thompson finally admitted to the girl’s whereabouts when noises were heard coming from behind a wall.
The bodycam footage shows Thompson on his knees in a closet, removing boxes and prying off a nailed board to reveal a small hidden space. Described as a triangular void, the space ranged from six to eight feet wide at its broadest point, narrowing down to two to four feet. The child, physically unharmed but emotionally traumatized, emerged from this cramped hiding place.
Detective Keith Lindley shared with the newspaper that the girl was extremely emotional and frightened when she was found. Thompson had allegedly instructed her to remain silent and keep her location a secret. It was later revealed that Thompson was out on bond for a methamphetamine charge in a neighboring jurisdiction.
The child has since been placed under the care of the Department of Human Services. Thompson, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, now awaits further legal proceedings.
This disturbing incident highlights the importance of law enforcement’s dedication to protecting vulnerable children and the tireless efforts of agencies like the Arkansas Department of Human Services. The investigation into this case continues as authorities work to ensure the safety and well-being of the young girl.