Thomas Dewald is shown in an undated photo from the Franklin County, Pa., Prison. Police say Dewald, a 20-year-old Pennsylvania man, was a house unlocked front door, grabbed a four-year-old girl from her bed, took her in his grandparents’ home, bound her and locked her in a wooden case. Pennsylvania State Police say Thomas Dewald faces multiple charges including kidnapping, unlawful deprivation of liberty and indecent assault. (Franklin County Jail via AP)
WAYNESBORO, Pa. – A 20-year-old man came to the house unlocked front door, grabbed a 4-year-old girl from her bed and bound and put her in a wooden box at his grandparents ‘ house, told the police that he was scoping some of the children thought he lived in “deplorable conditions,” authorities said.
The child was reported missing at 3:30 pm Thursday, and somehow managed to escape a few hours later in the morning. She was found safe in the vicinity of the house where Thomas Dewald had been staying in Waynesboro, about 165 miles (265 kilometers) west of Philadelphia, near the Maryland line, Pennsylvania State Police said.
“No parent or child should ever have to worry about whether they are safe in their homes,” State police Lt. Mark Magyar said late Monday.
On Monday, a state trooper, the investigation into the abduction and spoke to Dewald’s grandmother, because of her red brick house adapted to the child with the description. The woman told the officer she had in her grandson’s room in the previous days to see if he had made his bed, and thought she heard a baby crying near a wall air conditioning unit, the affidavit said. They said that they could not find the cause of the crying, and Dewald had already left for work. The woman told the police that he had been staying with her for four or five weeks.
Troopers searched the house and found a wooden trunk under the air conditioning unit. Inside was the black tape covered with blond hairs, dirt, and grass, the affidavit said.
Dewald returned home if the strike is wrapped up, the investigation and the police says in the statement that he admitted to taking the girl.
He told troopers he had the yards of neighborhoods, looking for children without the supervision of adults who seemed to live in “appalling conditions” and in houses with no video surveillance in the area, the affidavit said. He went on to tell them, he came in the 4-year-old house, and after an hour, decided to take her on the basis of the condition of the property, according to the affidavit. The police claims he told them he considered the girl’s brother, but he decided that he was “too heavy” to carry to the stairs.
According to the affidavit, he told the police that he “might” have touched the girl in an inappropriate way once in his room at his grandparents ‘ home. Police say he told officers he then entered the girl’s wrists, ankles and mouth and put her in a wooden box, told her that he would be home from work around noon.
At about 9:30 pm on Thursday, the girl escaped the house, police said.
According to the affidavit, Dewald told troopers he broke into another home on Sunday, plan to use one of the three children who reside there, but decided that their living conditions were acceptable. State police also say he was afraid of the dog in the family. He put the tape on the bottom of his shoes so that he would not leave shoe prints, the statement said.
Dewald was arrested and faces multiple charges in both incidents, including kidnapping, criminal attempted kidnapping, theft, false imprisonment, unlawful obstacles, criminal trespass and indecent assault.
There is no lawyer listed in online court documents. A phone listing for Dewald’s grandparents went on a busy Tuesday. Dewald remains in Franklin County Jail.