GREENE COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - A couple faces felony child endangerment charges after deputies say a 9-year-old boy told them he and his two younger siblings were “tired of being beat.”
Greene County sheriff’s deputies arrested 30-year-old Cody Tyler Baker and 26-year-old Alexis Leanna Murray of Beech Grove on three counts each of endangering the welfare of a minor first-degree.
Baker is also charged with three counts of second-degree domestic battery.
The charges stem from a Saturday, March 14, report filed by a woman babysitting the three children at a home on County Road 607.
The woman told deputies she needed to leave but could not get in touch with the parents who had left the children the day before “without adequate supplies.”
Noting that the children’s home was “not a clean, safe environment,” according to the probable cause affidavit, deputies immediately called the Child Abuse Hotline.
While waiting for a Department of Human Services agent to arrive, Deputy Kaleb Pitcher contacted Murray who said she was more than 2 hours away but was headed to her home.
According to the court documents, one of the victims showed Pitcher a TV with a broken screen. He reportedly told the deputy that Baker had “grabbed his head and slammed it into the TV, breaking it.”
The boy told Pitcher a five-year-old girl in the home was sometimes locked in a “dark closet.”
The affidavit stated Pitcher “observed a closet in one of the bedrooms that had a lock on it.”
The girl also reportedly had bruises on her face, arms, and side. Pitcher photographed the child’s injuries.
All three children reportedly described various abuses dealt to them by Baker and Murray, and suggested possible drug use.
The older boy asked Pitcher to “take Cody to jail because he was tired of getting beat.”
DHS took all of the children into their care.
Neither Baker nor Murray had arrived at the home when deputies cleared the scene later that night.
The following Monday, Investigator Sgt. Rockie D. Weber requested a forensic interview at the Children’s Advocacy Center in Jonesboro.
During the interview, which was recorded on Friday, March 20, all three children “spoke of physical and mental abuse at the hand of Cody Baker,” the affidavit stated. “All three children also stated that Alexis Murray was being physically abused by Cody Baker.”
On Saturday, March 21, Greene County District Judge Dan Stidham found probable cause to arrest both Baker and Murray.
Each is being held in the Greene County Jail on a $10,000 cash-only bond awaiting arraignment.