A missing 6-year-old girl has been found safe, thanks to help from a K-9 named Fred.
The bloodhound is credited with rescuing Kinzleigh Reeder from an abandoned shed in central Tennessee on Friday and leading police to her father, who’s accused of abducting her, according to a Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office Facebook post on Monday.
“He licked her face and she gave him a big hug,” Fred’s handler, Deputy Richard Tidwell, said of the moment the dog found the missing girl. “I pulled the chicken reward out of my pocket. He ate [it] and wanted to meet other people as if to say, ‘Look what I’ve done.’”
Kinzleigh had been missing for more than a month before Fred was able to sniff out her location — a small outbuilding with poor ventilation that reeked of ammonia, said DeKalb County Sheriff Patrick Ray, according to WKRN. Deputies with the DeKalb County Sheriff helped with the search.
The windows of the outbuilding had been boarded with metal, Ray told WKRN, and there was little food or water. The pair had also been using a five-gallon bucket as a toilet, police said, according to the news station.
Fred sniffed an item belonging to the girl’s father, Nicholas Reeder, and tracked the scent to an outbuilding behind a home, according to the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office. The door was reinforced from the inside, forcing officers to pry it open.
“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 Sgt. James Holloway said, according to the Facebook post. “Everyone was prepared to stay on scene until the little girl was safely located and out of harm’s way.”
Deputies arrested Kinzleigh’s father on charges of child abuse or neglect. Reeder had previously lost custody of his daughter, according to WKRN, and had warrants for custodial interference.
The 6-year-old is now in the care of officials at the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, according to the news station..
Meanwhile, Fred was rewarded with chicken and extra pizza crusts.
Facebook users also had high praise for Fred. “Good boy! Hope he got a big steak for a reward!,” one person commented on the sheriff’s office post. “People could learn a lot from animals How awesome!! Good job Fred!!,” another comment read.
In March, Fred located a missing 13-year-old runaway boy, according to a previous Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office Facebook post. This rescue marked Fred’s “first recovery” since he joined the department in 2020, the sheriff’s office said.