October 21, 2009 Edition

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Shelter closed temporarily

Gretchen Hunt

The Children's Shelter located in Walnut Ridge has been closed temporarily, according to administrator Amber Hampton.

Hampton said the closure was done voluntarily after an allegation was made to the Arkansas Crimes Against Children hotline. She said the shelter was planning to have some minor construction work done and chose to do so while the children were out of the facility.

"The licensing board did not shut us down," she said. "We have permission to accept kids at this time, but we are still working on construction and want to complete that first."

Hampton said the shelter's board made the decision to close the shelter.

Lawrence County Sheriff's Department Captain Jody Dotson said he was notified after the allegation was received by the hotline.

"The sheriff's department was asked to assist in the investigation," he said. "We worked the investigation and turned the information in to the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division. They will make the final decision in Little Rock."

Dotson said details about the allegation cannot be released because the case is still under investigation.

Hampton expressed her appreciation to Dotson and Stan Rogers of the Arkansas State Police for their efforts.

"We do appreciate the speed of the investigation done at the local level," she said. "The number one thing for us is the kids."

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