Pocola Man Pleads Not Guilty to Raping, Burning Child
A Pocola man accused of raping and burning a 22-month-old child pleaded not guilty to rape and child abuse charges in LeFlore County District Court Monday.
Heath Talley, 26, is being held in the LeFlore county Detention Center on a $250,000 bond. Talley’s next court appearance is Aug. 7.
Talley was arrested on July 10 after the little girl he was babysitting was taken to Sparks Medical Hospital after allegedly being shocked with electrical wire and sexually abused.
According to an affidavit, Talley told police he gave the little girl a shower then accidently laid her on top of a homemade phone charging device which caused electrical shock burns. She was brought back to her mother in Fort Smith the next morning.
“It was somebody that she trusted, so she had no idea that anything would go on with her child,” said Fort Smith Detective Robert Schibbelhut. “This was her life-long friend.”
Family members say they’re devastated and outraged.
“My worst fear is she was tortured all night,” said Allan Weimer, a relative of the little girl. “No one should ever do this to a child and no kid should ever endure what she went through.”
The toddler was rushed to the hospital to get treatment for burns and internal injuries from being raped.
“The Hamilton House said that this was one of the worst they’ve seen so far,” said Det. Shibbelhut.
The girl is now in DHS custody. The alleged biological father tells 5NEWS he’s been seeking full custody of his little girl.
“In the state of Arkansas, if paternity has never been established and they weren’t married when the child was born, then the father has no rights to the child,” said Det. Shibbelhut.
Relatives of the little girl warn parents to know who is watching their children.
“It breaks my heart as her family member to know that this has happened to her,” said Weimer.
Police say the investigation is ongoing.