Family Says Muskogee Man Arrested For Child Neglect Set-Up To Fail By DHS
MUSKOGEE COUNTY, Oklahoma - Prosecutors charged Samuel Crawford with child neglect, but his sisters say he's a loving father who is physically unable to care for all his children.
Samuel Crawford's sisters say their brother's arrest is a misunderstanding. In fact, they believe he was set-up when DHS left Crawford alone, in a wheelchair, with six kids.
Vanessa Atchison says her brother had five brain strokes leaving him in a wheelchair and making it hard for him to take care of himself and his family.
"There's only so much he can do. His right side of his body is flaccid. He's in a wheelchair," said Vanessa. That's why Atchison and her other sisters are so upset to see their brother arrested and charged with child neglect.
"He's a good dad. He's the type of dad that will build model cars with his kids. He's the type of dad who plays with the kids," said Vanessa.
The sisters say the children's mother, Michelle Craig trashed the home.
"Yeah, the house was in bad shape. But it wasn't in bad shape until she moved in there."
Atchison admits the house was in bad shape then but says DHS chose to leave the children in Crawford's care. Last Thursday, officers came back to check on the kids and arrested Crawford.
"And then to come back, I feel like they set him up. They took him to jail in his wheelchair, but none of that was told."
Police reports say there was urine on the floor and that the sink, bathtub, and toilet didn't work. The report says the toilet was full of feces and maggots.
DHS says they give families the opportunity to improve conditions before resorting to removal.
"We often allow families and extended family members the opportunity to correct conditions in the home while monitoring the safety of the children. When the family is not willing or able to safely care for their children protective actions must be taken," said DHS in an official statement. DHS declined to comment on this specific case.
Crawford's sisters say they plan to fight his child neglect charge moving forward.