Father charged after missing Tennessee girl found alive in squalid, barricaded outbuilding

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DEKALB COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — A 6-year-old girl missing for a month was found in an outbuilding with no ventilation, barely any food or water and a bucket to use as a bathroom, according to investigators in DeKalb County, Tennessee.

DeKalb County Sheriff Patrick Ray said agencies from across Middle Tennessee spent hours searching for Kinzleigh Reeder, who was last seen by family members on May 26.

Sheriff Ray said Kinzleigh had been removed from the custody of her father, Nicholas Reeder, after the two were found camped out under a bridge in rising creek water on March 18 at Dry Creek and Pea Ridge Road.

He was arrested on a charge of child abuse and neglect, while Kinzleigh was placed in the temporary custody of a family member. The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services later allowed Reeder to live in the same household with his daughter.

DCS contacted the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office on June 21 to file a missing child report after the agency was granted custody of Kinzleigh. They were unable to locate the 6-year-old, and a family member said she had not been seen since May 26.

A bloodhound from the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office located a scent Friday evening that led to an outbuilding on Reeder’s property, according to investigators. Sheriff Ray said the door to the outbuilding was barricaded, the windows had been covered up with metal and Reeder and his daughter were inside.

The sheriff revealed there was no ventilation and air conditioning inside the small outbuilding, there was barely any food or water for the child and the outbuilding “had a strong ammonia smell,” where the two had been using a five gallon bucket as a bathroom.

Reeder was arrested and booked into the DeKalb County jail on a charge of child abuse or neglect. He also had warrants for failure to appear and custodial interference.

Bond for Reeder was set at $175,000.

Kinzleigh was released into the custody of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

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