Mother of abused Tulsa children wants custody, files for divorce two days after incident

TULSA - The mother of three children, who were allegedly neglected by their father in what Tulsa police call one of the worse cases of child abuse they have ever seen, is fighting to get them back.

Tulsa police say they found one of the woman's kids, an 18-month-old toddler, locked inside a dog cage in a north Tulsa home on Sunday.

Police say neighbors found a naked four-year-old locked outside of the same home earlier in the evening.

The mother's attorney, Laurie Phillips, says her client is seeking to regain custody of the children, who are in DHS custody.

Phillips said her client has filed for divorce from her husband and the father of her children, William Lewallen, who was arrested and charged with child neglect.

The request for divorce was filed on Tuesday, according to court documents.

Phillips said her client has "been kept in the dark" in regards to the status of her children.

Phillips said her client was not aware of the alleged incident since she was at work at the time police say it happened.

Police credit a group of neighbors for possibly saving the lives of the three young children.

Neighbors Matthew Testerman and Steven Robinson say they heard a sound at the same time Sunday night.

"I heard a child crying out and thought that they were playing," said Robinson.

But the child's cry grew louder. That's when both men knew something was wrong.

The men walked through a wooded area behind Testerman's house.

They say that's when saw a naked 4-year-old boy in the backyard pleading to be let inside the house.

Testerman said he knocked on the door, but no one answered.

"I pulled off my jacket and put it on him," said Testerman.

Police say they found two more kids in the house, including an 18-month-old girl, who they say was locked in a cage.

The children's father, William Lewallen, was arrested and charged with child neglect.

"As a parent you are responsible for taking care of your children, ultimately. We saw Sunday that this individual failed to do that," said Tulsa police officer Leland Ashley.

On Tuesday, while Testerman and Robinson were showing 2NEWS around the wooded area behind the home, a man walked out of Lewallen's house and interrupted the conversation between the men and the news crew.

The man yelled at Testerman and Robinson and asked what they had done to his fence.

Testerman and Robinson yelled back at the man, mentioning the children and asked if he was the landlord.

A woman walked out of the house as the yelling continued.

After a few moments, the man and woman walked away.

The pair had earlier identified themselves as family members of the children.

According to Oklahoma Department of Corrections records, William Lewallen was convicted last year in a Tulsa manufacturing of controlled dangerous substances case and also has past convictions for grand larceny, possession of a stolen vehicle and second-degree burglary.

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