A Tulsa man who was supposed to be caring for his girlfriend's 6-month-old baby has instead been arrested in connection with the infant's death.
Police and paramedics were summoned Saturday to a Tulsa home in response to an infant in cardiac arrest. The child's mother, Anna Hyden, told police that she had left her infant son in the care of her boyfriend, Kevin Lee Crawford, 52, earlier in the day, but Crawford fled the residence before police arrived.
The infant was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police say that Crawford and Hyden lived with the infant in a "rundown shed" behind the home of Crawford's parents. They describe the conditions in the shed as "deplorable," saying that the shed was filthy and filled with trash and chemicals.
Crawford was arrested on Monday in connection with the infant's death. He is held in the Tulsa County Jail on $60,000 bond on complaints of child neglect, possession of a controlled dangerous substance after prior felony conviction, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
He has a criminal record that involves past drug convictions, most recently for endeavoring to manufacture methamphetamine. He pleaded guilty in 2011 and was sentenced to 7 years in prison with credit for time served, and he was released in December 2013. Other convictions include DUI, obtaining merchandise by false pretense, and second degree burglary. A 2003 charge for possession of a controlled substance was dismissed when a prosecution witness failed to appear.
Under state law, child neglect (21 O.S. § 843.5) is punishable according to the same standard as physical abuse of a child. Anyone convicted of child neglect in Oklahoma faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. If prosecutors determine that the child's mother was in part responsible for the neglect of the child, either by allowing the infant to live in the described deplorable conditions, or by leaving her child with someone she knew or should have known was likely to allow the child to come to harm, she too could be charged. Enabling child neglect is punishable in the same manner as child neglect.
What is child neglect? Oklahoma law (10A O.S. § 1-1-105) defines child neglect as follows:
a. the failure or omission to provide any of the following:
(1) adequate nurturance and affection, food, clothing, shelter, sanitation, hygiene, or appropriate education,
(2) medical, dental, or behavioral health care,
(3) supervision or appropriate caretakers, or
(4) special care made necessary by the physical or mental condition of the child,
b. the failure or omission to protect a child from exposure to any of the following:
(1) the use, possession, sale, or manufacture of illegal drugs,
(2) illegal activities, or
(3) sexual acts or materials that are not age- appropriate, or
Learn more about Oklahoma child abuse and neglect laws here, or call (405) 418-8888 to speak with an attorney about your case.
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