WAYNESBORO, Pa. (WHTM) – A southern Pennsylvania man is praising a family pet for saving his three young children from a man now charged with their attempted kidnapping.
Thomas Dewald, 20, told police he entered the Washington Township home early Sunday and saw the children sleeping in their beds. He said he decided against taking them, according to a criminal complaint.
Dewald is accused of taking a 4-year-old girl from another home early Thursday. He admitted to police that he took the girl to his home, where he bound her wrists, ankles and mouth, then placed her in a wooden chest in his bedroom, the complaint states. The girl somehow managed to escape.
Dewald told police he ran from the second home through a kitchen door when he heard a dog barking.
‘If he wasn’t here, I’m positive that one of our girls wouldn’t be here or maybe she would be in a field right now,” Thom Lambert said of his pet.
Lambert said he heard the footsteps in his kitchen. Already on heightened alert after Thursday’s abduction, he immediately checked on his three daughters.
“I was really just hoping I was good. If I came across anything, that I will be good enough to protect my daughters,” he said.
Dewald told police he put tape on his shoes so he wouldn’t leave prints, entered the home through a window and went to the bedroom where three children were sleeping.
“It’s disgusting,” Lambert said. “Every single thing about my kitchen and the stairwell that goes to the upstairs, everything about that hallway just feels gross. It feels tainted.”
Dewald told investigators he searched the neighborhood for children playing outside and for houses with no video surveillance.
He is charged with 13 felonies, including kidnapping to inflict injury or terror, attempted kidnapping, burglary, false imprisonment of a minor, unlawful restraint, criminal trespass and corruption of minors. He is additionally charged with misdemeanor counts of indecent assault and reckless endangerment.
Dewald is being held in Franklin County Jail without bail.