Police arrested Thomas Dewald, 20, on Monday evening for the kidnapping of 4-year-old Gemma Moats. Pennsylvania State Police say they worked tirelessly to arrest Dewald.
“And the community affected… can rest easy tonight knowing this animal is in custody,” said Lt. Randy Kane, Station Commander Troop H Station.
Police were called early Thursday morning to Pen Mar Road in Washington Township for the report of missing 4-year-old Gemma Moats. Police say Dewald got into the house through an unlocked door and took Moats. She was found safe and unharmed just two and a half miles away from her home later that day around 10 a.m.
“What is the motive behind this. And at the time, I’m not quite sure what the motive is. This is something the investigators are certainly looking into and we’re trying to figure that out,” said Lt. Mark Magyar, Criminal Investigation Section Commander for Troop H.
Police say Dewald also tried to burglarize a home on Sunday on Lower Edgemont Road, less than a mile from where he abducted Moats a couple days earlier. Police say Dewald fled the scene after he heard the dog and the homeowner wake up. Police say he was targeting children.
“His intentions were certainly endangering children that were inside that residence,” said Magyar.
Now, the Franklin County community can be at peace that an accused child abductor is behind bars.
“It is through this investigative diligence and meticulous attention to detail that we’re all able to rest a little bit easier tonight,” said Magyar.
Pennsylvania State Police say they’re not looking for any other suspects at this time.
Dewald faces a slew of charges including kidnapping, criminal attempt to kidnapping an burglary.