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Self-Described Oklahoma Pastor Arrested for Child Abuse

Keith Holt allegedly beat his children with wooden rods and locked them away for days without food and water

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A pastor who had described himself to police as “lead pastor” at Blackwell House of Prayer Church in Oklahoma was arrested January 16 on multiple charges related to child abuse. His wife Candy Holt was also arrested.

Keith Holt / Candy Holt

The real pastor of Blackwell House of Prayer, John Jack, clarified that Keith Holt is not lead pastor nor does he have any official title with the church. He has, however, filled in sporadically for the past several months, helping with pastoral duties.

The day following Holt’s arrest, the Blackwell House of Prayer released a statement in response to the allegations. “The Blackwell House of Prayer rebukes all statements and actions carried out by Keith Holt,” the statement says. “The Bible speaks against child abuse or any mistreatment of children, and we stand firmly by that. The House of Prayer was also never made aware by these children of any indication that this was being carried out.”

Keith, Candy and their eight children moved from Arkansas to Oklahoma about eight months ago. At the beginning of January, the Blackwell Police Department received information from the Department of Human Services (DHS) that the Holts had left several children home alone and went back to Arkansas for a short time.

In the days that followed, several tips came in regarding the couple and their treatment of their children. On January 16, local police and DHS entered the Holt residence to investigate the claims, and police determined they had enough probable cause to arrest both Keith and Candy Holt for child abuse.

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The Chief of Police in Blackwell detailed to Ponca City Now what happened inside the Holt home. “This is a very large and complex child abuse case that could have up to 8 victims and has been going on for an unknown amount of time. The methods of child abuse were described as anything from physical abuse by beatings with a wooden board and a belt to being locked into a small room and not given any food or water for several days. This case is still ongoing at this time.”

Keith Holt was arrested on charges of child abuse, kidnapping, and child neglect. Candy Holt was arrested on charges of enabling child abuse, kidnapping, and child neglect.

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Daniel Ritchie

Daniel Ritchie is an evangelist, speaker and author from Wake Forest, NC. He has spoken nationally and internationally to churches, colleges, seminaries, conferences and professional sports teams. He is the author of two books - My Affliction for His Glory & Endure. He is a husband to Heather and daddy of two children.