Police: Simpson couple kept child alone, locked in room

Published 4:18 pm Friday, October 13, 2023

By Justin Story, Bowling Green Daily News

Two people in Simpson County, including one identified by authorities as the director of a child care center, have been accused of leaving their 4-year-old child alone in their home and locked in a room for months.

Johnathon Jenkins, 30, and Morgan Soper, 28, of Franklin, were arrested Thursday by the Simpson County Sheriff’s Office.

They are being held under $10,000 bond in the Simpson County Detention Center on 89 counts of facilitation of first-degree wanton endangerment and 89 counts of facilitation of endangering the welfare of a minor.

Jenkins is also charged with second-degree attempted criminal abuse, while Soper has been additionally charged with attempted endangering the welfare of a minor.

According to an arrest citation, the sheriff’s office was contacted Thursday afternoon by someone attempting to deliver a package at the Springfield Road home of Jenkins and Soper.

The caller said they knocked on the front and back doors aggressively several times, but no one came to either door.

“The caller stated there was a small child in a room beating on the window and crying,” an arrest citation said. “It appeared no one was home with the child.”

A deputy saw the child lying on a mattress on the floor in a bedroom and wearing only a diaper, and the child appeared to be alone, court records show.

Law enforcement entered the house through the back door and found a padlock on the door to the room where the child was seen, and the sheriff’s office contacted the Department of Community-Based Services.

The sheriff’s office spoke with Jenkins and Soper, and they said they locked the child in the room because he had been kicked out of day care, arrest citations said.

“Investigation led this officer to believe that both parents leave for work in the early morning hours and return home mid-afternoon,” arrest citations for both Jenkins and Soper said. “This has been going on since June 9. The child was found covered in feces. There were numerous firearms laying about the residence along with multiple empty alcoholic beverage containers.”

Both parents work out of state, and Soper was the director of a child care facility in Goodlettsville, Tenn., according to the sheriff’s office.

Soper’s arrest citation lists KinderCare in Goodlettsville as her employer.

A person who answered the phone at KinderCare referred questions to district manager Rachel Dyer.

Colleen Moran, senior public relations manager for KinderCare Learning Companies, sent the following statement to The Daily News:

“At KinderCare, nothing is more important to us than children’s safety. We take all concerns about the quality of our programs and our staff seriously. As soon as we heard this news, we placed Morgan Soper on administrative leave.”

Jenkins and Soper are due to appear Oct. 26 in Simpson District Court for arraignment.