Mother, Infant Son Periodically Stay at Outdoor Homeless Camp

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Little Rock Police officers have responded twice this week to a homeless camp after people reported seeing a mother and her four-month-old baby staying in a tarp tent.

Every time officers would responded, mom and son were gone before law enforcement could get to the area off South University.

Not far into the woods, you'll find Timothy Riotliff's home.

"It's actually a pretty good life," says Riotliff. "The wild-west people used to do it. They used to have log cabins."

His home is a tent in an outdoor homeless camp with two other people surrounded by guard dogs.

"She might spend a couple days and she'll go back," says Riotliff.

Riotliff says a 23-year-old woman and her baby 'Ricky' will sometimes stay with the group in a tarp tent.

"That baby was well fed and I bet she's still feeding him good," says Riotliff.

As temperatures drop Riotliff says the father, who lives at the camp, will make sure his infant son is not cold.

"They got him bundled up real good so that baby isn't cold a bit," he says.

Union Rescue Mission's Director of Missions Dorcas VanGilst says as long as children are being well nurtured, have a place to sleep and safe -- it's hard for authorities to take action.

"Do I think it's rare to have a child less than a year homeless? Absolutely not. Like outside of a shelter? That's sad but no it's not rare," says VanGilst.

The idea of living in the woods may be unpleasant for most people.

Riotliff says this is his home and that it offers everything baby Ricky could need.

"I said alright I'll take the baby. [I] set him down in the boat with his little blankie, gave him a quick change, picked him back up, set him back on the boat with his little blankie," says Riotliff.

Riotliff says authorities have been out to his camp before to check on the baby but they found little Ricky was well fed.

Little Rock Police officials say officers were told the mother and baby went to a shelter for help but police have not been able to confirm that.

Officials at DHS are not able to comment if there has ever been an investigation or if an investigation is ongoing.


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