(CNN) — An Arkansas man accused of hiding his 5-year-old daughter behind a wall to prevent state workers from taking her last week has been arrested and charged with false imprisonment and other offenses, authorities said.
Jon Thompson, 40, was arrested Friday, two days after police found that the girl was hidden in a space behind a wall in a home in the city of Tontitown in northwest Arkansas, authorities said.
Officers went to the home on November 1 to help state Department of Human Services workers take custody of the girl, Tontitown police reports say without elaborating on why they wanted to take her. Thompson initially refused to let them into the home and repeatedly told them the child was not there, the police reports say.
After not allowing police enter his home for more than an hour, Thompson led officers to a closet in the master bedroom, the reports say.
A video clip from a police body-worn camera shows Thompson move items that were under a rack of clothes in the closet before taking out the girl. Thompson “had to pull a board that was nailed to the wall” to gain access to the space where the child was, one officer wrote. The area the child was confined in “was described as a small possibly 6 foot by 4 foot space that was cut inside the master bedroom closet wall,” another officer reported.
Thompson faces charges including false imprisonment, endangering the welfare of a minor and interfering with child custody, according to police. He posted a $5,000 bond and was released Sunday.
When reached by phone, Thompson told CNN, “For the record – I love my daughter,” and referred all further comments to his attorney, who did not immediately answer CNN’s request.
According to a police report, one officer wrote the girl was in the “confined space for approximately 30 minutes without being able to leave of her own will” and noted she later told authorities this was the only time she had been inside. When the child came out of the closet, she was “clearly in an emotional state,” the report says.
During an interview two days after police found the girl, the child said she had hidden inside the wall with a lit candle that Thompson had given her.
“The juvenile discusses being afraid to go inside the hole in the wall but that her dad wanted her to do so and told her if she did not go inside she would be taken away from him,” the report says.
“When asked if she could get out of the hole in the wall the child shook her head no and stated she was told if she talked or made noise she would not get to see him (her father),” the report adds.
The child’s situation was an unforgettable one, Tontitown police Detective Keith Lindley said.
“There are some law enforcement encounters that stick with us over the maturity of our careers – some images and scenes are just tattooed into our permanent consciousness,” he said. “This is one of those times. It’s sad. It makes us sad, but we are relieved she is safe.”
Lindley added that nothing is more important than “the security of a child in our community.”
“Regardless of who we are, where we come from, or who raised us – there is, or at least should be, a universally accepted truth among all adults, and that is we are all duty-bound to safeguard the innocence and emotional wellbeing of a child,” he said.
Thompson’s next court date is December 4, police said.
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