Parent accused of abuse has record

Associated Press / October 1, 2009

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OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma mother accused of locking up her 14-year-old son in a closet for 4 1/2 years was previously convicted in the death of her 2-year-old child in New York, investigators said yesterday.

Sergeant Gary Knight of the Oklahoma City police said detectives confirmed that LaRhonda McCall was arrested in New York in 1995 in connection with the death of her daughter. At the time she went by the name LaRhonda Pressley, he said.

Steven Reed, Bronx district attorney’s office spokesman, said the mother pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in 1996 and was sentenced to jail and probation. Further details about the case were not immediately known.

McCall, 37, and her friend, Steve Hamilton, 38, have been arrested on 20 complaints each of child abuse and child neglect in the Oklahoma City case. Both remained jailed yesterday on $400,000 bond.

Police began their investigation Friday after the teen, malnourished and covered with scars and bruises, went to a National Guard armory about a mile and a half from his home and told security guards he escaped and needed police.

The teen told police he spent most of the last 4 1/2 years locked inside bedroom closets at various apartments where the family lived and never attended school or received medical attention, authorities said.

An affidavit released yesterday said McCall and Hamilton admitted to beating the boy and locking him in a closet for days.

The Department of Human Services has taken all seven of McCall’s minor children into custody.