“I've been in law enforcement for 33 years,” La Vergne Police Chief Ted Boyd said. “I still have a problem wrapping my mind around how people can treat their children this way and put them in possible danger. The really sad part is the children accepted this as a way of life. They were used to it. This is unacceptable.”
A neighbor reported a black male kicked in a door, loaded a television in a car, and drove away with a woman with the headlights off.
Police, who were already investigating a fight call in the area, were on the scene within minutes.
While the thief was not caught, officers made another grim discovery, the three children, ages 4, 8, and 9, were not just home alone, but were trapped in their rooms with ratchet straps tied to the door handles.
“The children had no food or water,” Boyd said. “But worse in my mind is what could have happened to them. What if the thieves found and harmed them? What if there was a fire? The fact that someone would leave young children trapped in a house like that is terrible. It could have been a tragedy.”
The children said it was daylight when Anthony Fuqua, their mother’s boyfriend, placed them in their bedrooms.
The mother had given her boyfriend $80 to buy food before she left for work in Nashville.
When she arrived home prior to the burglary, she could not gain access to the house.
In a statement to police, she thought the children were either inside sleeping or gone with the boyfriend.
She left the house unclear about whether or not her children were inside.
Officers brought the children food while representatives from the Department of Children's Services were called.
DCS placed one girl and two boys in temporary state custody.
Warrants have been issued for Fuqua, a white 32-year old male, for three counts of child abuse. He drives a 1994 silver Honda Accord.