Family Could Be Charged With Child Neglect

Friday, April 18th 2008, 6:53 pm
By: News On 6

Tulsa police are saying the parents of a child found alone Thursday on a highway service road have a history of neglect.  And now the couple could face criminal charges.

The News On 6's Jeffrey Smith reports Tulsa police say this case is unheard of, no family members at all knowing that their child was missing all day long.

Six hours, that's how long a 4-year-old boy was wandering the streets on Thursday afternoon.

"We started getting concerned after about five hours when we still hadn't heard from anybody," said Tulsa Police Sergeant Whitney Allen.

The little boy was supposed to be staying with relatives at a house on Zunis Avenue. But at 10 a.m. police got a call saying that a little boy was found in the 1800 Block of Admiral Place, which is about four blocks away from the home, and right on the service road for I-244.

"I've been working child crimes for the past five years. And this is the first one that I can remember that's gone this length of time without somebody realizing that the child was missing," said Sergeant Allen.

The boy's parents live on Yorktown Avenue.  The News On 6 went there three times, but no one answered the door. They also went to the home where the boy should have been staying.  A man answered. He says he lives with the aunt of the child, who was away at work.  He refused to give any names.

"It's not unusual for us to get calls where children are found wandering the street. We get one or two of those a week. But somebody almost always calls within the first 15 or 20 minutes in a panic saying their child has snuck out and they don't know where they are,' said Allen.

Police say there is a history of neglect in the home.

"But the investigation is ongoing as to any possible criminal charges that the family could face," said Allen.

The child remains in protective custody.

A DHS hearing on this case has been set for early next week.