MEDICINE PARK, Okla. (KFOR) - The Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge is shut down Thursday while authorities are searching for a man accused in the death of a 2-year-old Norman child.
“It’s kind of a sad start to the New Year,” said Haley Turman, who was hoping to visit the refuge with friends.
“There’s a good chance he’s still here,” said Comanche County Sheriff Kenny Stradley.
Law enforcement is searching the vast area for 38-year-old Christopher James Trent.
It all started on Wednesday morning when Norman police were called to a welfare check of a 2-year-old boy in the 700 block of Vicksburg Avenue.
“Right off the back as medical personnel began to look at the child, they began to recognize that there was some significant abuse and physical trauma to the child,” said Sarah Jensen, Norman Police Public Information Officer.
The boy was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Through the investigation, police learned he was in the care of Trent, who was dating his mother.
Later in the evening, Trent’s vehicle was found here, at the wildlife refuge.
“We came down here to drive through the wildlife refuge and then go up Mount Scott but unfortunately we can’t do any of that today,” Turman said.
But some who live in the town were pleased to hear the refuge was closed for safety concerns.
“The danger is still here,” said Dan Dolenar, who lives in Medicine Park. “That he’s put behind bars and that the appropriate punishment is dealt to him. There has to be a message sent out to those kinds of people, that we will not tolerate this anymore.”
An arrest warrant has been filed for Trent for first-degree murder.
The sheriff tells News 4 part of the road will reopen to through traffic after dark. They will then continue the foot search using dogs on Friday morning.