The community group together in Johns Island, South Carolina, still very emotional after a complete nightmare of a situation, they had been searching for 24 hours for a girl that as kidnapped, Heidi Renae, just 4 years-old.
Thankfully everyone feels a sense of relief that she has been discovered alive and safe in Alabama, but shocked about the circumstances around her disappearance back on 13th February this year.
There are five children living with their parents, Heidi was one of those five in a lovely community of Johns Island before this terrible thing happened.
Her father is a member of the coast guard and her mo is a stay at home mom who cares for all the children and their home, at the time it happened her father was out training with his work, out of town!
The day it happened was an awful day, a guy came into the family home, beat up Heidi’s mom and took Heidi with him, kidnapped, and gone!
The police said that the first feeling that something was wrong came when Heidi’s mom didn’t turn up to pick up her two older children from the school…
The police went to the family home and then discovered that Heidi’s mom was there but had been ‘brutally beaten’, there were two siblings there, younger in age than Heidi and Heidi herself was gone!
The police took action straight away and rushed Heidi’s mother to the hospital, she needed immediate surgery, her injuries were severe!
The community was truly shocked an horrified by what had happened, they joined forces with the police to search high and low for the little girl!
In the end, a railroad crew that was working over in Riverside, Alabama, 400 miles away from where Heidi lived were responsible for leading police to the child after they saw a car parked in the nearby woods that was suspicious.
Rick Oliver, Police Chief from Riverside arrived and approached the vehicle, as he got closer he saw a guy sleeping, also inside the car was the little girl!
As they confronted the guy, he quickly pushed the girl out of the car to the police, then he drove off as fast as he could.
The guy was later arrested like he could ever have thought he would actually be able to get away, he is 37-years-old, called Thomas Lawton Evans and he was only released from prison a few short weeks ago!
Police were seriously attempting to ascertain why he did it and if there was any connection from him to the Todd family, or if it was just a random attack.
The little girl seemed to be physically unharmed, she was sat happily eating snacks and watching cartoons, but little do we know about the psychological effects the while ordeal has had on her.
She waited with the authorities who tried to make her as comfortable as possible while her farther came to collect her, he took a flight from Charleston straight away after he got the news about his daughter.
John Tecklenburg, Charleston Mayor announced the news that the little girl had been found, there was a lot of relief and cheers from the crowd, but everyone continued to pray for Heidi’s mom, still in hospital and seriously injured.
“What could have been a day of real tragedy has turned out to be a day of great joy”
Oliver agreed, and he said that Heidi’s safe return to the family was one of the greatest days of his 20-year career in law enforcement.
“This is a blessing …It is nothing to do with luck. The good Lord put me in that place.”