William Todd Lewallen from Tulsa, Oklahoma, is facing neglect charges after his 18-month-old daughter was found locked in a metal cage, similar to a dog cage.According to KTLA, 48-year-old Lewallen was asleep in his house at the time law enforcement officials noticed something was terribly wrong in the household.
The atrocious treatment of the child was uncovered by a neighbor, who phoned emergency responders in. As they knocked on the family's door, they glimpsed through the window to find the child being held in inhumane conditions.
“When they looked in the window they say saw a small child in a dog cage,” Officer Leland Ashley, spokesperson for the Tulsa police department, clarifies.
The Lewallens have three children – the 18-month-old girl, a 4-year old found outside and one 3-year-old who was sleeping in a separate room.
The caged little girl was covered in feces at the time emergency operators found her, while the family's 4-year old was wandering outside, with no clothes on, in the cold. 40 degrees °F (4.44 °C) were registered in Tulsa at the time of the intervention.
“His lips were solid purple and I could hardly see them, and he was shaking like this,” neighbor Mathew Testerman says, in a report by Fox 23.
“All I could hear was the baby saying, daddy let me back in. I'm cold, I'm scared. Please let me back in,” neighbor Bodean Jacobs states.
Police believe the father was either sedated or intoxicated. He was found asleep in bed, “in an alcohol- or narcotics-induced stupor,” Officer Ashley says.
Lewallen was arrested for child neglect on the spot, and will appear in court on November 19. He is yet to post his $50,000 (€39,400) bail.
The mother of the children, who remains unidentified, did not receive the same treatment. She was working at the time of the arrest, and arrived home just as the officers were preparing to leave.
The Department of Human Services has taken custody of the couple's three children, pending an official result to the investigation into their wellbeing.