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Bloodhound finds 6-year-old girl barricaded in outbuilding with little food or water

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 5:39 AM HST
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DEKALB COUNTY, Tenn. (Gray News ) - A bloodhound with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office found a missing 6-year-old girl and her dad barricaded in an outbuilding on the man’s property with little food or water Friday night.

According to the Department of Children Services, Kinzleigh Reeder had last been seen by a family member on May 26.

Hundreds of manpower hours were used in the search for Kinzleigh Reeder, using airplanes equipped with thermal imaging and drones.

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office contacted the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office to assist in the search with a bloodhound named Fred, who was able to lead authorities to the little girl and her father, 34-year-old Nicholas Reeder.

“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,” said Rutherford County Sheriff’s Sgt. James Holloway in a Facebook post.

According to the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, the door to the outbuilding was barricaded and the windows were covered with metal, offering no ventilation or air conditioning inside.

Officials say the outbuilding had a “strong ammonia smell” from the pair using a five gallon bucket as a toilet.

Nicholas Reeder was arrested for child abuse, neglect, failure to appear and custodial interference.

The girl was released to the custody of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

Fred’s handler, K9 Deputy Richard Tidwell, said the bloodhound gets a reward of chicken to feast on when he makes a successful find, but this time he got an extra treat of pizza crusts.

“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.’”

Missing girl hugs bloodhound Fred after he finds her A missing and endangered 6-year-old girl hugged Rutherford County...

Posted by Rutherford County Sheriff's Office on Monday, June 28, 2021

Kinzleigh Reeder had first been removed from her father’s care when he was arrested and charged with child abuse and neglect in March 2021.

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office said Nicholas Reeder drove his SUV into a creek bed on a cold, rainy night. Nicholas and Kinzleigh Reeder were found camped out under a bridge in rising creek water on March 18.

At that time, the girl was placed into the temporary custody of a family member. When Nicholas Reeder was released from jail, DCS gave him approval to live in the same home as his daughter.

DCS was granted custody of Kinzleigh Reeder under a court order signed June 16 but could not locate the girl. DCS contacted the sheriff’s office to file a missing child report June 21.

Fred found the girl four days later.

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