Police: Man kidnapped 4-year-old, stuffed her in trunk
A 20-year-old Pennsylvania man has been arrested after he allegedly took a 4-year-old from her home and stuffed her in a trunk at his grandparents' home.
Thomas Dewald was arrested on Monday and charged with kidnapping, burglary, false imprisonment and criminal trespassing, among other charges, after he admitted to police that he had kidnapped a young girl and had been looking for similar children who he believed lived in "deplorable conditions," according to the Associated Press.
Last Thursday, a child was reported missing around 3:30 a.m. She somehow made her way out several hours later and was found not too far from Dewald's grandparents' house in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, state police said.
On Monday, an officer who was investigating the kidnapping spoke to Dewald's grandmother after noticing that her house matched the kidnapped girl's description. The woman told police that she had gone into Dewald's room to see if he had made his bed. She added that she thought she had heard a baby crying near an air conditioning unit but could not pinpoint where the noise actually came from.
When authorities searched the house, they found a wooden trunk underneath the air conditioner and, inside the chest, black tape covered in blonde hair and dirt. When Dewald returned later that day, he confessed to taking the girl.
“No parent or child should ever have to worry about whether they’re safe in their homes,” said State police Lt. Mark Magyar said.
Dewald also told police that he had thought about kidnapping the girl's brother but decided against it because he was too heavy to carry, according to an affidavit. Dewald said he similarly broke into another home on Sunday, intent on taking one of three children who lived there. He changed his mind after he felt their living conditions were acceptable.