HENDERSON, KY (WFIE) - A worried friend in North Carolina helped lead authorities in Henderson to a sad scene.
Deputy Terry Harmon says he was called to a mobile home on Highway 60 in Spottsville. He told us as soon as he pulled up to the driveway, he had a feeling something was wrong.
He says a friend of the man who lives there usually spoke with him over the phone every day but had not heard from him.
Deputy Harmon says when he arrived, he found the door latched with a rope.
He says he released it, walked inside, and found 65-year-old Charles Keefover on the couch.
Deputy Harmon says he was obviously deceased. Emergency officials say he had been dead for about 24-36 hours.
"You look for any way you can to save someone but when it's too late, it's too late," Harmon told 14 News.
As Deputy Harmon searched the home, he says he saw a light and a TV on in another room.
He walked in to find what he thought was a cage to hold reptiles. As he looked inside, he says a little girl's head popped up.
"I take my flashlight and kind of go across the front of the windows, and that's when a little head pops up from under the covers," he continued.
Deputy Harmon says he realized it wasn't a cage, but a bed for disabled people so they don't fall out.
He says it turns out, the nine-year-old girl he discovered is non-verbal and wheelchair bound. She was wearing two diapers that were soiled.
"She was actually very well cared for," Harmon said. "As the father, he did everything he could to care for this child, but when his health started to fall and fail, it took a toll on the entire household, which was just the two of them."
She was taken to the hospital where doctors say she was dehydrated and malnourished.
She is now in foster care with a home willing to care for a disabled child.
Deputy Harmon says the girl's mother is in jail, and no other family could care for her.
He says this case will impact him for a long time, and he hopes the girl finds a permanent home.
He told 14 News his parental instincts kick in in a case like this.
"You do what you have to do to secure the scene, but when children are involved you do what you do as a parent," Harmon said. "As a police officer and parent together, you know the things that have to be done."
Keefover's cause of death has not been released, but we're told it appears to be natural causes.