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One Dad's Quick Thinking Rescued This Missing Girl From Her Dangerous Abductor

Charleston Police Department

The hectic 24-hour race to rescue a missing toddler began when her mother didn't pick up her older siblings from school earlier this week.

A search of the mother's home found she had been badly beaten, and her four-year-old daughter, Heidi Todd, was nowhere to be found.

It's still unclear just what happened to Heidi's mother, but a manhunt for the little girl began right away.

Police say an Amber Alert wasn't issued for the little girl because there wasn't enough information to create one, but Heidi's neighbors searched their neighborhood with flashlights.

In the end, Heidi wouldn't be found close to her home in Charleston, South Carolina.

Investigators examine the Todd house.Post and Courier

She was discovered alive and well less than a day later in Riverside, Alabama, thanks to some quick thinking by a passerby.

A trio of railroad workers in Riverside were on the job when they noticed a car parked too close to the train tracks.

They discovered the blue sedan with Illinois license plates had a sleeping man behind the driver's seat, and an awake little girl in the passenger's seat.

Worried about the girl's safety, one of the workers, a 30-year-old father named Mark Burke, called the local fire department.

Burke later explained that as a dad himself, he couldn't just ignore the little girl in danger. As he soon found out, Burke made the right decision.

Riverside's police and fire chiefs both answered the call, and found the suspicious man asleep behind the wheel.

The town's police chief, Rick Oliver, said the girl was dressed in an adult's hoodie and pajamas.

"That just piqued my interest," he later told AL.com.

After speaking with the man, Oliver was able to check his information, which revealed he was Thomas Evans, a suspect in Heidi's abduction.

Thomas Evans was charged with kidnapping the girl.WCIV

Evans handed Heidi over to the police chief before trying to flee the scene, but was arrested after a short car chase.

The Post and Courier reports that Evans, who has been charged with abducting the girl, has a history of break-ins and armed robbery.

He had been released from prison on another robbery charge less than two weeks before Heidi's kidnapping.

While Heidi's mother is still recovering in hospital, the little girl is reportedly safe and healthy.

What a remarkable story! Thank goodness those heroes walked by when they did!

[H/T: AL.com, The Post and Courier]