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Dog missing after carjacking found safe

Posted at 1:25 PM, Jul 29, 2023

CLEARFIELD, Utah — A dog who went missing after an attempted carjacking has been found safe, Clearfield Police announced Saturday afternoon.

“The dog goes everywhere with her," said the owner's son-in-law Jeremy Willden. "It’s like her companion and best friend."

According to an official press release, "Reo," the 7-year-old Shih Tzu who was in his owner's car when it was stolen Wednesday from outside a Maverik station at 709 South State Street.

“The girl just put the car in reverse and hit the gas and started reversing and knocked my mother to the ground,” he said.

The suspect, Melissa Rush, 31, abandoned the vehicle, which police found hours after the incident. Reo, however, was nowhere to be seen. Rush was taken into custody a few days later.

“Every day that went by we were starting to wonder if we’d even find him,” he said.

Willden received a tip that Rush dropped off the dog to a random family prior to her arrest. He followed the lead to a homeless camp in Salt Lake City.

“I approached the tent and just talked to a gentleman and showed him the flier and he immediately said, ‘Yeah, I know where that dog is,” Willden said.

The family caring for Reo was not aware that he had been stolen, and according to Clearfield Police, they returned him without issue.

“She started crying immediately. You could tell she was in shock that was him,” said Willden.

The case remains under investigation, and Rush is currently being held without bail, pending trial.

Willden said they gave the man that led them to the family the $2,500 reward money.