FRANKLIN COUNTY, Pa. — State police arrested a man in connection to a child abduction and attempted burglary in Franklin County.
With a middle finger raised and nothing to say to reporters, the man state troopers are calling an "animal" was taken to Franklin County Prison.
"The community affected by the cowardice actions can rest easy knowing this animal is in custody," said Randy Kane, station commander of Troop H for the Pennsylvania State Police.
Thomas Dewald, 20, is charged with kidnapping a 4-year old girl from her home in the middle of the night. Investigators say Dewald took the girl to his grandparents' house, where he bound her with tape and locked her inside a wooden chest. They say the victim somehow escaped, but investigators have not released details about how.
According to court documents, Dewald faces a host of charges, including indecent assault.
"It`s pretty hard to deal with, obviously. I don`t know the grandson you`re describing," Larry McFadden, Dewald's grandfather, told WPMT. "The grandson I knew was expecting to be starting his career, and he`s a very religious boy, at least I thought he was, and he`s very intelligent. That`s the hard thing to accept 'cause this certainly isn't intelligent, he`s going to put away in jail for the rest of his life, that`d be my guess."
Investigators also say Dewald searched the neighborhood looking for kids playing in their yards and for homes with no video surveillance. Thom Lambert said Dewald targeted his family, investigators confirming that Dewald got inside their home through a window and watching Lambert's three children as they slept in their beds. Dewald took off when he heard the family`s dog barking.
"My worldview is shattered, and not any political worldview or sociological worldview, ideologically, my perception of the world is changed now," said Lambert. "I have to be still the encourager, I have to be still the field without fences to some degree to my kids, but to the same regard, now I also have to be vigilant in that arena, and that's very depressing."
To Dewald, Lambert had this message: "Whatever made you what you are, I`m sorry about that. But wherever you are, I would really appreciate if you stayed as far away from my family and my community for as long as humanly possible."