DEKALB COUNTY, Tenn. — A bloodhound is being credited with leading law enforcement to a missing 6-year-old girl who authorities say was found barricaded in a Tennessee outbuilding with her father on Friday.
The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Saturday that the K-9, named Fred, was able to locate a scent that led officers to the shed on the father’s property in the Pea Ridge community.
The outbuilding had little food and water inside, the door was barricaded, and the windows had been covered up with metal, according to the sheriff’s office.
Officers had to force their way into the shed, where the sheriff’s office says they made contact with the girl and her dad, 34-year-old Nicholas Reeder.
“There was no ventilation and air conditioning inside the small outbuilding. There was barely any food or water for the child,” wrote the sheriff’s office. “The outbuilding had a strong ammonia smell where the two had been urinating and defecating in a five-gallon bucket.”
The girl was released to the custody of the state’s Department of Children Services (DCS), while Reeder was arrested on child abuse and neglect charges. Officials say the father also had warrants for “failure to appear” and “custodial interference.” His total bond was set at $175,000.
The sheriff’s office says the girl had been missing since May 26. The week before, officials say she had been removed from Reeder’s custody after they were found camped out under a bridge in rising creek water on a cold rainy night the week before.
Reeder was later charged with child abuse and neglect, while his daughter was placed into the temporary custody of a family member. After Reeder was released from jail, the DCS gave him permission to live in the same home where his daughter was staying.
But on June 21, the DCS contacted the sheriff’s office to file a missing child report. That’s when the search for the girl and her father began.
When the officers and the bloodhound found the father and daughter, the girl gave the dog a big hug and the K-9 licked her face. That’s according to the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, which owns the K-9.