He was accused of a crime he swore he never committed; she believed her 4-year-old

He was accused of a crime he swore he never committed; she believed her 4-year-old

On the evening of the accusation, before the police came, Austin Holcomb walked to his neighbors’ house to get his son.

The boy, who was almost 4, had been playing there all afternoon.

The neighbors’ house was a wreck. That Saturday, they had been moving furniture, rearranging rooms. “Can you help me for a minute?” the husband asked. “You want a beer?”

Four kids were upstairs. Holcomb’s son and his friend’s two boys were playing computer games in a loft. The neighbors’ daughter, 4, had a fever and was huddled in her parents’ bed.

Holcomb drank a couple of beers, then helped his friend remove a large mirror from a white dresser. He carried the mirror upstairs, turned on the light in the master bedroom and saw the girl sleeping. He set it by the door, flicked off the light and came back downstairs.

But his friend wanted to put the dresser by the door, so Holcomb ran back up to make room. His friend heard the mirror move.

Both times, the neighbor later told police, Holcomb was back downstairs in less than a minute.

“Come on,” Holcomb, 27, called to his son. “It’s time to go.”

A while later, as he was tucking his boy into bed, the neighbor’s wife banged on his back door, screaming, “What the hell did you do to my daughter? How could you do this?”

“What are you talking about?” he asked.