An Arkansas man has been arrested after police located a 5-year-old girl who was locked in a hidden section of his closet in a dramatic, caught-on-camera rescue.
Bodycam video released by the Tontitown Police Department captured the moment the suspect pulled the child from a small space in the closet that was nailed shut, KSMF-TV reported Friday.
Homeowner John Thompson was arrested and charged with first-degree child endangerment and interference with court-ordered custody, according to USA Today.
Cops had come to the house with a search warrant to help the Arkansas Department of Human Services take custody of the girl, but Thompson denied she was there.
However, during a 30-minute conversation, Thompson relented after officials heard banging outside a wall.
“[Thompson] got down on his knees in a closet … moved some boxes, and then had to pull a board that was nailed to the wall to get access to a small space … to allow the child to come out,” TPD said, according to the local station.
“The space the child was in might have been a triangle-shaped void … possibly six to eight feet wide, going down to two to four feet wide,” police said.
The girl was said to be unharmed but appeared to be traumatized by the experience.
She was placed in DHS custody.
“She was very emotional when she came out and pretty scared,” Detective Keith Lindley told the newspaper. “He had instructed her not to make a sound or reveal she was back there.”
Thompson, who police said was out on bond for a methamphetamine charge in a neighboring jurisdiction, pleaded not guilty to the charges stemming from the latest case.