A bloodhound with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office is being credited with helping locate a missing 6-year-old girl.
Kinzleigh Reeder was reported missing in DeKalb County. Rutherford County Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh said Nicholas Reeder allegedly abducted his daughter Kinzleigh Reeder on May 26. Law enforcement believed that they were camping in the Pea Ridge community.
While in the Pea Ridge community, Fitzhugh said Nicholas and Kinzleigh Reeder were behind a home, and they needed help from Rutherford County Sheriff’s bloodhound Fred.
After smelling an item belonging to the father, Fred was released and eventually sat down near the door of an outbuilding. This action indicates he found the father.
When deputies went to the door, it was reinforcing and thus confirming their suspicions that Nicholas and Kinzleigh Reeder were inside the building.
“We made entry into the building and discovered the suspect and child in the back of the shed behind blankets that were hanging from a makeshift clothesline,” Rutherford County Sheriff’s Sgt. James Holloway said in a statement on Monday.
Nicholas Reeder was taken into custody. He was charged with child abuse or neglect of his daughter as well as failure to appear and custodial interference. He is being held on a $175,000 bond.
"The door to the outbuilding was barricaded, and the windows had been covered up with metal. There was no ventilation and air conditioning inside the small outbuilding. There was barely any food or water for the child. The outbuilding had a strong ammonia smell where the two had been urinating and defecating in a five-gallon bucket," Sheriff Patrick Ray said in a statement on Monday.
Kinzleigh Reeder was turned over to the DeKalb County deputies and released to the custody of the Tennessee Department of Children's Services.
"The little girl's asking to meet the dog that saved her. He gave her licks. She gave him a big old hug," K9 Deputy Richard Tidwell said." His reward for a successful find is his chicken. He loves chicken. If you say chicken he’s going to perk right up."
The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, Rutherford County Fire & Rescue, StormPoint drones, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad, DeKalb EMS, the FBI, and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation worked together on the search.
“Everyone was prepared to stay on scene until the little girl was safely located and out of harm’s way,” Holloway said. “It is an honor to serve alongside some of the most dedicated and highly trained first responders in the country.”
Fred also received a feast of chicken and pizza crusts for his successful find.
“I praised him and loved on him,” Tidwell said. “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.’”
Tidwell said he spends more time with K-9 Fred than even his family.
"I consider him my partner because we live together we work together we ride around together,” Tidwell said. "We do everything together."