Grandfather of man accused of kidnapping, locking girl in chest, and attempted burglary says he’s stunned

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, FRANKLIN COUNTY, Pa. -- State Police arrested a man in connection to a child abduction and attempted burglary in Franklin County.

Now, the grandfather of that man is telling FOX43 he is stunned.

Larry McFadden tells us he had no idea what his grandson was capable of; police say Thomas Dewald bound that little girl with tape and locked her up inside the grandparent's home.

"It's terrible, obviously... I had no idea," said McFadden.

With a middle finger raised and nothing to say to reporters, the man state troopers are calling an 'animal' is taken to Franklin County Prison.

"The community affected by his cowardice actions can rest easy knowing this animal is in custody," said Mark Magyar, Criminal Investigation Section Commander for Troop H.

That's 20-year-old Thomas Dewald; he's the man charged with kidnapping a 4-year-old girl from her Washington Township home in the middle of the night.

Investigators say Dewald took the girl to his grandparents house on Harbaugh Church Road where he bound her with tape and locked her inside a wooden chest. They say the victim somehow escaped, but we don't know much more than that.

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, obviously," added McFadden. "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.

"It was just dread," said Thom Lambert.

Deward apparently targeted Thom Lambert and his family.

Investigators say Dewald got inside their home through a window. They say Dewald watched Lambert's three children sleeping in their beds but 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. 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," said Lambert.

Thom addressed the camera with a solemn message for the man whose changed the way he looks at the world.

"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."

Authorities tell FOX43 they're tracking where Dewald was prior to being in Franklin County.

They say there is always the possibility there could be other victims.

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