Couple who left crying toddlers in apartment alone appear in court

Photo: Timothy Jason Burkhart Jr.

A 24-year-old Mountain Home man who allegedly left toddlers, ages 1 and 2 years old, alone and crying in an apartment seemed ready to plead guilty to the charges last Thursday.

Timothy Jason Burkhart Jr. appeared during a session of Baxter County Circuit Court. When Judge Gordon Webb had informed him of the charges against him and asked how he pled, Burkhart said guilty.

Judge Webb said it was his policy not to accept a guilty plea until a person had at least had an opportunity to meet with a lawyer.

Burkhart and 21-year-old Haleigh Josephine Angier, who lived in the apartment together, both appeared for Rule 8.1 hearings. The hearings are held to satisfy the requirement that a person who has not bonded out of jail be brought before a judicial officer as soon as possible.

Photo: Haleigh Josephine Angier

The couple was reported to have left the apartment and been away for about an hour when a neighbor called Mountain Home Police to report hearing children crying in a nearby residence.

A Mountain Home Police officer responded and reported hearing the crying children as he neared the apartment. When he entered the residence, he found the two toddlers clad only in diapers. According to the police report, the younger child was visibly upset and crying as he looked for the parents.

The children were turned over to the Arkansas Department of Human services.

After being on the scene for about an hour, officers departed only to receive a 911 call from the complex reporting two missing children.

When officers returned to the scene, they reported Burkhart began to demand why police had entered and searched the apartment and why the children had been taken from the residence.

The police report indicated Burkhart and Angier had to have it explained to them why leaving very young children alone was “not right” and could be considered child neglect.

Officers also reported finding drug paraphernalia in plain sight in both the bedroom and living room. When it was verified Burkhart was on felony probation and had signed a waiver permitting warrantless searches, more drug-related items were located.

Both Burkhart and Angier were ordered to reappear in circuit court this Thursday to be formally arraigned on the charges against them. Burkhart remains an inmate in the county jail with bond set at $10,000. Angier has since posted bond for the same amount.

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