An emotional Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg confirmed Wednesday night that the toddler missing from Johns Island was found safe in Alabama.
Tecklenburg said 4-year-old Heidi Todd was rescued from an abductor in Riverside, Alabama, Wednesday afternoon.
“We give God the glory and our thanks that all our prayers have been answered, and in fact, Heidi Todd is safe in the hands of the FBI,” Tecklenburg said, his voice breaking. “What could have been a day of great tragedy has turned out to be a day of great joy.”
A crowd that had gathered for a vigil for the missing child erupted in cheers as Tecklenburg made the announcement.
Tecklenburg arrived a few minutes late for the scheduled 8 p.m. news conference, explaining that the story is still unfolding and the last chapter has not yet been written because the suspect is still at large.
He said an officer in Alabama stopped a suspect and managed to get the girl out of the suspect’s vehicle, but said the suspect got away.
#BREAKING Heidi Todd has been found safe in Riverside Alabama. I just spoke to the family pastor. @JohnTecklenburg will make the announcement at 8 p.m. published reports state Todd’s kidnapper is still on the run. #chsnews
— Harve Jacobs (@policereporter) February 15, 2018
Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson identified the suspect as 37-year-old Thomas Evans, a white male from the area. Wilson said Evans will face state charges of kidnapping and that federal charges from the FBI and additional charges will be forthcoming.
Authorities said they do not know whether Evans has any connection to the Todd family.
Earlier reports stated Todd was recovered Wednesday afternoon at approximately 4 p.m. in a business parking lot, but that her suspected abductor remained at large after eluding Alabama authorities.
Charleston Police would not confirm those reports as of 6:34 p.m.
Earlier Wednesday afternoon, police released a sketch of a man considered a person of interest in the disappearance of 4-year-old Heidi Renae Todd and a home invasion that injured her mother.
Investigators said Wednesday evening they believe the child is still alive.
Authorities say child’s disappearance followed home invasion
The Charleston Police Department released a sketch of a man in connection with a home invasion and the child’s subsequent disappearance. According to a report released Wednesday afternoon, Todd’s mother was assaulted while attempting to enter her home 2900 block of…