Bloodhound hero: Sheriff’s K-9 finds Tennessee girl missing for month

DEKALB COUNTY, Tenn. — A bloodhound with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office is being credited with helping locate a 6-year-old Tennessee girl, who had been missing since May 26.

Fred, a department K-9, followed a footpath Friday from a home in the Pea Ridge community to a burn pile, a truck and an outbuilding, where he sniffed the door and sat down, indicating to his handler that he found the child’s father, Nicholas Reeder, WZTV reported.

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After forcing their way into the structure, deputies found both Reeder and his daughter, Kinzleigh, the TV station reported.

“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 issued Monday.

Holloway also stated that the outbuilding’s door had been barricaded and its windows had been covered with metal, WSMV reported.

“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,” DeKalb County Sheriff Patrick Ray said in a prepared statement.

Nicholas Reeder, who is being held on a $175,000 bond, was charged with child abuse or neglect of his daughter as well as failure to appear and custodial interference, WSMV reported.

Meanwhile, Kinzleigh reportedly thanked Fred personally for his services by throwing her arms around his neck before she was placed in the custody of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office.

“He licked her face, and she gave him a big hug,” Fred’s handler, K-9 Deputy Richard Tidwell, told WZTV.

And Fred’s reward?

“I praised him and loved on him,” Tidwell told the TV station. “He ate the chicken and wanted to meet other people as if to say, ‘Look what I’ve done.’”

Kinzleigh has since been released to the custody of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, WSMV reported.