A Pennsylvania family is crediting their recently adopted 4-year-old rescue dog, Edgar, with helping to thwart an alleged child abduction attempt in their home on April 28.
Thom Lambert, 40, told FOX43 that Edgar, a Treeing Walker Coonhound, recently frightened a man police believe to be 20-year-old Thomas Dewald, away from their home in the middle of the night.
Dewald was accused of abducting another child three days earlier before allegedly stuffing her in a wooden trunk at his grandmother’s house before the girl escaped.
“It was like a growl-howl,” Lambert told FOX43 about the noise Edgar made that alerted the family to an intruder inside the home. “It was obvious he was really upset and as soon as I got him to quit barking, I heard sounds of someone going down the stairs.”
Lambert said he went downstairs to check on the noise on April 28 when he discovered that the kitchen window and door were open, Pennlive.com reports. He told the paper that he immediately ran back upstairs to check on his three young daughters, who were asleep in their beds, before calling 911.
“The dog started barking and woke up the homeowner and scared away Dewald. That dog potentially saved the little girls’ lives,” Pennsylvania State Trooper Megan Frazer tells PEOPLE. “The dog is a hero.”
“It is scary,” she adds.
Frazer says Dewald admitted to going inside the Lamberts’ home on April 28.
“When they interviewed Dewald, he admitted to picking out that house because he knew there were young children in there,” she says.
Dewald was charged with attempted kidnapping in the Lambert case on April 30. He has also been charged with multiple felony counts including kidnapping, burglary, false imprisonment, unlawful restraint and criminal trespass in connection with the kidnapping of the four-year-old girl three days earlier, on April 25.
In that case, police say Dewald allegedly crept into the girl’s home, kidnapped her from her second-floor bedroom, bound her hands, wrists and ankles with tape and then stuffed her into a wooden trunk at his grandparents’ house.
Police said the girl was somehow able to escape just hours after she was abducted. She was found along a roadway close to Dewald’s grandparents’ home and about two and a half miles from her Washington Township home.
Police searched Dewald’s grandmother’s home and discovered a large wooden chest directly under the air conditioning unit in the bedroom.
“Several large strips of long blonde hair (similar to the hair on the [victim]) was located inside the wooden chest in the bedroom,” reads a criminal complaint obtained by PEOPLE.
Police also found several large strips of black tape which contained shoe print impressions as well as dirt, grass and long blond hair.
Dewald came home during the search and admitted that he kidnapped the girl and entered the Lamberts’ home through a window three days later and “went upstairs to the children’s bedroom.”
Dewald allegedly told police that he had searched the neighborhood for children playing in their yards unsupervised and living in “deplorable conditions,” according to the complaint.
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Lambert says he is incredibly thankful to rescue dog Edgar for saving his three daughters.
“Without Edgar, genuinely, who knows where our daughters would be right now,” Lambert told FOX43. “Our family was one hundred percent rescued by our dog that we rescued.”
“He’s just the biggest goofball ever,” he said about Edgar. “I was like, of course it would be this huge, like, dumb-dumb pain in the butt that would save our children’s lives.”
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