5-year-old was locked in hidden compartment with burning candle, cops say. Dad arrested

An Arkansas man was arrested after his 5-year-old daughter was found locked inside a hidden compartment, police told news outlets.

The 40-year-old man was charged with first-degree false imprisonment, first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor and interfering with child custody, news outlets reported.

McClatchy News is not identifying the suspect to protect the identity of the minor.

On Thursday, Nov. 2, police said they went to the man’s Tontitown home to help the Department of Human Services take custody of a child, KNWA reported.

When officers arrived, the father told them the girl was not there, police told KHBS. But when more police showed up, he said he would take them to where she was, according to the outlet, citing police.

While inside the home, police said they heard a banging noise, according to USA Today.

Police body camera video obtained by KHBS shows the man go into a closet and move some items under a clothes rack. Then, he pulls the girl out, the video shows.

Authorities say the girl was in a space behind a board that was nailed to the wall, KNWA reported.

“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,” a police report said, according to CNN.

The girl was hidden in the compartment for about an hour with a candle burning, KHBS reported.

“For the record - I love my daughter,” the man told CNN before referring any other questions to his attorney.

McClatchy News was unable to find an attorney listed for the man.

The man was arrested on Nov. 3 and was released on Nov. 5 on a $5,000 bond, KNWA reported. He is due back in court on Dec. 4.

Tontitown is in northwest Arkansas about 185 miles northwest of Little Rock.

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