Police: Neighbors Who Found Naked 4-Year-Old Locked Outside Saved His Life


Monday, November 12th 2012, 10:25 pm
By: News On 6


Child crisis investigators are crediting alert neighbors for saving a Tulsa boy's life.

He was naked outside in 40-degree weather. The boy's screams didn't wake his father, so neighbors stepped in.

Police found the boy's sister in a dog crate inside, and now investigators are trying to figure out how the kids wound up in this situation.

Tulsa Police interviewed 47-year-old William Todd Lewallen first after arresting him for child neglect at his home.

They want to know how his naked 4-year-old son got locked out in the cold and how his 18-month-old daughter got stuck in a dog crate, covered in feces.

11/12/2012 Related Story: Screaming Tulsa Toddler Found Locked In Dog Crate

But investigators say Lewallen didn't have many answers, because he was passed out when it happened.

"He was asleep and he couldn't have rescued those kids if anything had happened to them or if they were injured," said TPD Child Crisis investigator Corporal Greg Smith.

Police say Lewallen was on prescription drugs and had been drinking.

Neighbors heard the little boy outside.

"And he was shaking … and I'm not going to leave that boy out here to freeze. It made me cry real bad, I've got babies, too and I've heard horror stories, but I've never seen it in real life," said neighbor Matt Testerman.

Police believe the little boy was locked out for at least 20 minutes.

"It was 40 degrees at the time, then it was 28 last night. He could have developed a medical condition or even death," Smith said.

When police arrived, they heard a girl screaming inside the home and saw the 18-month-old in a dog crate.

"All I could see was part of her hand, trying to get out, I guess, I don't know—freaked me out," Testerman said.

Police had to break through the door to rescue her and Lewallen slept through the whole thing, next to another one of his young children, who was also naked.

Corporal Smith said he hopes the children can give details about what happened, while their father was asleep, and he credits neighbors for caring enough to step in.

"Sometimes people don't want to get involved when they see or hear something that's not right or not their business. But he may have saved that kid's life," Smith said.

The three children are in DHS custody and are okay.

There will be a hearing in a few days to determine whether the children can return home with their mother, who was at work when this happened.