Questions surround PA State Police response to child abduction

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It has been almost a week since police say 20-year-old Thomas Dewald abducted a 4-year-old girl, bound her, and put her in a wooden chest. Did the State Police warn the public enough about the severity of this case?

On April 25th at 10 a.m. the 4-year-old girl was found, and State Police later determined she was taken the same day. 

They asked the public for any information regarding the case, but did not say if the public was in any danger. 

Three days later, a second home was targeted. 

“I’ll be honest with you, we probably didn’t take it as ridiculously strong as we should have, and that’s a bummer because we didn’t and there was a human being in our house,” said Thom Lambert, Owner of second targeted house. 

After police determined the girl was taken on Thursday, State Police refused any on camera interviews until Monday.

On Wednesday, we asked State Police if they should have warned the public more. 

“I believe the Pennsylvania State police did everything to their ability that they could in this case,” said Trooper Brent Miller, Director of Communications,  Pennsylvania State Police.

The day the child went missing, an amber alert was not issued. Miller says amber alerts have very specific criteria that need to be met. 

State Police did not have enough information until she was located to say that she was abducted. 

The day of the abduction, State Police say they brought in their Major Case Team, which is described as an all-star team of criminal investigators. 

“I’m not a police officer, I’ve never been a police officer, I’ve certainly never been a police officer in an abduction case, so me as a layman, I can sit back and go you guys are screwing this up you guys are doing this right I would like to believe the people that do know what they’re doing are doing doing the job that they’re supposed to do,” said Lambert. 

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