A shocking incident in Clearfield left the community in disbelief as an elderly woman became the victim of a carjacking while her precious canine companion was still inside the vehicle. The brave 74-year-old, Dee Thorell, recounted the harrowing experience when she stopped at a local Maverik gas station on Sunday to quench her thirst. Little did she know that this innocent pit stop would turn into a traumatic ordeal, leading to the theft of her car and the kidnapping of her beloved Shih Tzu named Reo. The alleged carjacker, Melissa Rush, 31, was apprehended by a SWAT team late Wednesday, but the search for the missing dog continues, adding to the anguish of the already distressing incident.
The Unfolding of the Terrifying Incident:
Dee Thorell’s day took a devastating turn when she parked her car at the Maverik on 700 S. State in Clearfield and left the engine running with the air conditioning on for her beloved Shih Tzu, Reo. As she was heading inside, a woman identified as Melissa Rush approached her, snatched the key fob from her pocket and made a dash for Thorell’s car. Rush followed Thorell into the store, setting the stage for the shocking carjacking.
“I tried to yank her out of the car, but she had a real death grip on the steering wheel,” Thorell recounted. “I said, ‘My dog’s in the back,’ but that didn’t matter. She just wanted that car.”
The Brutal Carjacking and Escape:
Desperate to save her car and, more importantly, her furry companion, Thorell valiantly attempted to remove Rush from her vehicle. However, Rush put the car in reverse, causing Thorell to fall and hit her head on the open car door. As the carjacker sped away, Thorell was dragged across the parking lot, suffering severe injuries, including a broken arm, facial bruising, and painful road rash lacerations.
“I have a big blood blister and a big goose egg on my head,” Thorell revealed, visibly shaken. “My arm was paining pretty bad; it was fractured.”
Revealing Surveillance Footage and Past Incidents:
Detectives investigating the case later reviewed surveillance footage from the Maverik, uncovering troubling details about Rush’s actions before the carjacking. The footage showed Rush attempting to check the doors of four other vehicles in the parking lot before targeting Thorell. Additionally, investigators discovered that Rush had been banned from the store in February due to unrelated issues.
A Heartbreaking Search for Reo:
Despite the determined efforts of law enforcement, the stolen car was found abandoned and wrecked, but Reo was nowhere to be found. The loss of her vehicle was upsetting, but the disappearance of her beloved dog weighed heavily on Thorell’s heart.
“It’s awful, it’s really awful,” Thorell expressed with tears in her eyes. “I just hope he’s safe somewhere. I just want him home safe and sound.”
The Arrest of the Alleged Carjacker:
After authorities identified Melissa Rush as a person of interest in the carjacking, they urged the public to be on the lookout for her. On Wednesday evening, a tip led detectives to West Haven, where they spotted Rush and another man through a window. The situation escalated, leading to a SWAT team’s intervention to enter her home. Rush was taken into custody, while the man was eventually released. Rush refused to cooperate with investigators during questioning and was subsequently imprisoned.
Previous Charges and Pending Court Hearing:
This carjacking incident is not the first time Melissa Rush has been in trouble with the law. In April, she faced multiple child abuse charges and endangerment in a separate investigation. Her next court hearing for that case is scheduled for Monday.
Community Support and Hope for Reo’s Safe Return:
In the wake of this distressing incident, the community has rallied around Dee Thorell, offering support, prayers, and hope for the safe return of her beloved Shih Tzu, Reo. Friends, family, and even strangers have joined forces to assist in the search efforts, spreading the word on social media and distributing flyers to bring Reo back home.
The shocking carjacking incident involving an elderly woman and her dog has shaken the community of Clearfield. Dee Thorell’s brave attempts to protect her car and her beloved Shih Tzu, Reo, illustrate the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity. While authorities have apprehended the alleged carjacker, the search for Reo continues, bringing a sense of urgency and hope to the community. As the investigation unfolds, let us stand together as a community, offering our support and solidarity to Dee Thorell during this challenging time and holding on to the belief that Reo will soon be safely reunited with his loving owner.