Tulsa Police Arrest Parents For Locking Toddler In Closet

Tuesday, January 28th 2014, 1:20 pm
By: News On 6

Tulsa police arrested the parents of a 4-year-old girl for child neglect Tuesday morning.

The child was found locked in a closet because, according to police, the Dad didn't want to be distracted by his daughter while he was playing video games.

Officers said a maintenance man was doing a routine check at an apartment in the 1600 block of West 59th Street. When no one answered his knock he went inside.

The police report states the maintenance man saw a bench placed against a closet door and found the toddler inside the closet.

This isn't the first time the family has been investigated for locking a child in a room.

Detectives investigating the neglect case said DHS visited the home eight months ago for almost the exact same thing.

This time, police said the parents locked the child away for hours.

Danielle Bishop, with the Tulsa Police, said, "We're not the parenting police, but when it becomes a dangerous situation, that's when we get involved and we have to do something to make sure the children are safe."

A maintenance worker trying to fix a door made a 911 call from a West Tulsa apartment complex after he found a little girl on the other side.

"When he opened the door to start dismantling it, he observed a child inside the closet covered with clothing," Bishop said.

Officers said the girl's father -- Darren Nashburn, 26 -- told officers he was up until 3 a.m. and his daughter was "throwing things, so he put her in the closet." Nashburn said he then went to sleep.

Police say the girl was in the closet for six hours and the apartment "was nasty with trash on the floors."  Police said two beds in the apartment were infested with bed bugs.

Officers said Nashburn told police he uses the closet as a "time out location."

"She was actually barricaded in the closet. It wasn't just the door was shut. She was barricaded to where she could not get out," said Bishop.

Police also arrested Nashburn's wife, Melissa, 26.

Police said the three children in the apartment -- ages 5, 4 and 1 -- were filthy and appeared to have gone without bathing for days.  Police placed all three children in the custody of the Department of Human Services.

"They're sweet little kids. They're very affectionate little kids," said Bishop.

The maintenance worker is considered a hero. Police said he did the right thing by calling 911.

If and when charges are filed, the parents could each face up to ten years in prison.

Officers booked Daren and Melissa Nashburn into the Tulsa County jail on a child neglect complaint. Jail records showed both are being held in lieu of a $50,000 bond each. Both have a court appearance set for February 4, 2014.