MURFREESBORO — A repo agent found more than he bargained for when he went to repossess a vehicle late Saturday night. As he was looking for the owner of the vehicle, he stumbled upon a small child outside crying, according to police.
It was around 11 p.m. when James King noticed the young boy and went to his aid outside the H building at Northfield Lodge Apartments, 603 E. Northfield Blvd. in Murfreesboro.
"He found what appeared to be a 6-year-old child in tears and distraught because no one was home supervising them," said Sergeant Kyle Evans, Murfreesboro police spokesman.
Police found four small children ranging in ages from 2 to 7 home alone. The oldest told police their dad, 25-year-old Rodger Katzenmaier was there when he fell asleep, but was gone when he woke up.
The children's mother was at work in Dickson, according to police, and the father was supposed to be caring for them. Katzenmaier returned to the apartment about an hour later. He told police he went to another apartment to use the telephone, and he didn't believe the children could unlock the deadbolt.
"He's trying to make it sound like they couldn't get out, and it wasn't a danger of them getting out," Evans said. "The oldest was perfectly able to work the deadbolt, but if the person responsible (father) believes that, if a fire or some other emergency had occurred they wouldn't be able to exit the apartment, just a very dangerous situation."
Sources told Channel 4 News the couple was separated because of a domestic assault. They were not supposed to have any contact because of a restraining order; therefore, the father would spend time with the children while the mother was at work.
There was very little food in the apartment, according to police, and no phone or contact number in case of an emergency.
"So many terrible things can happen," Evans said. "We will enforce the law in this case."
Police notified the Tennessee Department of Children Services. A case worker responded to the scene, and placed the children with their mother.
Katzenmaier is charged with four counts of felony child neglect. He remained in the Rutherford County Jail at press time.