Arkansas father leaves child at parish casino

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A Taylor, Ark. man is in a Webster Parish Jail on multiple charges, including cruelty to a juvenile.

Joseph Umphries, 39, from Hwy. 53, Taylor, was arrested by Springhill police for open container, resisting by flight and cruelty to juveniles.

Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd said around 8 p.m. Saturday Sgt. Dilorenzo was dispatched to Cash Magic Casino for a call concerning a juvenile.

“When he arrived at Cash Magic Casino, he located a 5-year-old child with a Cash Magic employee,” said Lynd. “The employee stated the father left his child inside of the car and went inside to gamble.”

When the father, later identified as Umphries, exited the casino he allegedly drove away without checking to see if the child was still in the vehicle.

“The employee also stated she saw the child walking up to random vehicles and appeared to be frightened,” said the chief. “When she approached the child, he told her ‘my daddy left me here.’”

Emergency Medical Services was called to check out the juvenile, and while awaiting EMS, the sergeant said he noticed Umphries’ vehicle driving south on Hwy. 371.

“Sgt. Dilorenzo followed the suspect’s vehicle and attempted a stop,” Lynd said. “The driver refused to stop and made a left-hand turn on Forrest Street where he continued to slow roll through an intersection.”

Once the vehicle came to a stop, Dilorenzo and Off. H. Boyle took the suspect into custody without incident.

“A thorough search of the vehicle was conducted,” said the chief. “They located a large foam cup filled with an alcoholic beverage.”

Umphries was booked at the Springhill Police Department and transported to Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center. There was no additional information concerning the child.

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.