Bloodhound in Tennessee finds missing 6-year-old girl allegedly abducted by father

Fred the bloodhound was able to successfully locate the child after smelling something that belonged to the father and tracking the two down via scent.

June 29, 2021, 9:12 PM EDT

By Hayley Vaughn

A bloodhound is being called a hero after helping to track down a 6-year-old girl who had been missing since May, according to Tennessee officials.

Fred the bloodhound successfully led authorities to a barricaded outbuilding where the girl and her father were located nearly one month after the child was allegedly abducted by her father.

The girl, who had been removed from the custody of her 34-year-old father in March after they had been found camping out under a bridge, had been missing since May 26, according to the Dekalb County Sheriff's Department.

Authorities spent the last several weeks looking for the missing child using thermal imaging airplanes and drones, and were able to narrow down a suspected location where they thought they might find her.

That's when Fred was enlisted to assist with the search. Using an item authorities obtained that belonged to the father, Fred was released near the suspected location and tracked the father's scent directly to the outbuilding where both the missing girl and her father were found, according to the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office.

Officers had to make a forcible entry at the scene and the girl and her father were found in the back of a shed, behind blankets that were hanging from a makeshift clothesline, the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office said.

"The door to the outbuilding was barricaded and the windows had been covered up with metal. There was no ventilation and air conditioning inside the small outbuilding," according to a statement released by Dekalb County Sheriff's Deputy Patrick Ray.

"There was barely any food or water for the child," Ray said. "The outbuilding had a strong ammonia smell where the two had been urinating and defecating in a five gallon bucket."

Upon finding the missing girl, Fred "licked her face and she gave him a big hug, said Fred's handler, K9 Deputy Richard Tidwell.