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Missing 4-year-old South Carolina girl rescued by police, suspect still on the run

RIVERSIDE, Ala. – A missing South Carolina 4-year-old has been located and is safe, according to AL.com.

Heidi Renae Todd, who disappeared from Charleston on Tuesday evening, was rescued from a man’s car around 4 p.m. in an Alabama business parking lot.

“We give the glory and our thanks that all prayers have been answered, and that Heidi Todd is safe in the hands of the FBI,” Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said at a press conference Wednesday, his voice breaking with emotion as the crowd let out shouts of joy, fists pumping skyward.

An officer was checking on a vehicle in Riverside when he noticed a sleeping man inside, along with a little girl who wanted out, AL.com reports.

The driver woke up and drove away as the officer was getting the girl out of the vehicle. Solicitor Scarlett Wilson identified the suspect as 37-year-old Thomas Lawton Evans. He was last seen in Alabama.

Thomas Lawton Evans in a prior booking photo. (Charleston County Detention Center)

Wilson said she anticipates warrants for state kidnapping charges, as well as charges by the FBI as a nationwide manhunt is organized.

“You can be assured that we’ll work together to see this case through to justice,” Wilson said.

According to The Post and Courier, officers have arrested Evans in the past for breaking into cars, substance abuse, and, in 2009, armed robbery.

According to WLTX, investigators believe Evans physically assaulted Heidi’s mother after walking into her home Tuesday. Heidi’s mother is reportedly recovering at an area hospital in fair condition.

The motive in the case is still not known, Tecklenburg said Wednesday.

Anyone with information on Thomas Lawton Evans’ whereabouts is asked to call Charleston police at (843) 743-7200, or Crime Stoppers at (843) 554-1111.