A neighbor called police after finding the older child outside the family's home and getting no response when he knocked on the door around 4 p.m. Sunday, as temperatures dropped to the low 40s. Officers' knocks also went unanswered, "then one of the officers looked inside and saw a small child in a dog cage," Tulsa police spokesman Officer Leland Ashley said.
After forcing their way inside, police discovered the toddler was covered in feces and that a 3-year-old child was asleep in another room. Their father was found asleep on a bed, "in an alcohol- or narcotics-induced stupor," Ashley said.
The three children were placed into the custody of the Department of Human Services, and the father was arrested on a child neglect complaint. The Associated Press is not naming the father so to protect the identity of the children, who showed no sign of physical injury, Ashley said.
Their mother had been at work and arrived as officers were preparing to leave the scene. She was not arrested and her name was not released, Ashley said.
"A citizen was concerned, he heard a small child crying outside for about 20 minutes. He went outside to investigate and found the 4-year-old child," he said. "You have to give credit to that neighbor who acted and did not ignore the situation."
Messages left for the department and the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office went unreturned Monday, a federal holiday.
The father was being held in the Tulsa County jail on $50,000 bond and his court date of Nov. 19, according to online jail records. No attorney was listed for him. He also had no listed telephone number.
A man by the same name and the same birth date was given a suspended sentence in August after pleading guilty to possession of a precursor to manufacture methamphetamine.
Information from: KOTV-TV