A Tennessee bloodhound is being called a hero after he assisted officers in finding a missing 6-year-old girl Tuesday, according to NBC News.
Fred the bloodhound led authorities to a barricaded outbuilding where the girl and her father, the alleged abductor, were located, NBC News reported. (RELATED: 13-Year-Old Jayme Closs Found Alive 87 Days After Being Abducted From Her Wisconsin Home)
Fred was enlisted to the job after weeks of searching for the little girl, Kinzleigh Reeder, who was declared missing in May by the Dekalb County Sheriff’s Office.
In March, Kinzleigh was removed from the custody of her father, 34-year-old Nicholas Reeder, after they were found camping under a bridge, according to a department press release. After weeks of searching via drone and thermal imaging airplanes, authorities were able to track down a suspected location, according to NBC News.
Fred was released near the suspected location after smelling an item obtained by authorities that belonged to the father. Fred then tracked the father’s scent to the outbuilding where both Kinzleigh and Reeder were located, according to the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office Facebook.
The two were found in the back of a shed after the officers made a forcible entry, the girl and her father were located behind blankets that were hanging from a “makeshift clothesline,” Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office said. According to Dekalb County Sheriff’s Deputy Patrick Ray, there was no ventilation or air conditioning inside the small outbuilding.
“There was barely any food or water for the child,” Ray said. “The outbuilding had a strong ammonia smell where the two had been urinating and defecating in a five-gallon bucket.”
Upon finding the missing girl, Fred was greeted with a big hug from Kinzleigh, as he licked her face, according to his handler, K9 Deputy Richard Tidwell.
Kinzleigh was placed in the custody of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services after her recovery, while Reeder was arrested for child abuse or neglect, NBC News reported. He also had warrants for failure to appear and custodial interference. Reeder’s total bond is set at $175,000, according to the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office press release. (RELATED: Sheriff Rescues Missing 13-Year-Old Girl From Motel Room)
“I praised him and loved on him,” Tidwell said of Fred in the department’s Facebook post. “I pulled the chicken reward out of my pocket. He ate the chicken and wanted to meet other people as if to say, ‘Look what I’ve done.’”