Riverside, Alabama Police Chief Rick Oliver and Fire Chief Timothy Kurzejeski, acting on a tip, found convicted felon Thomas Evans, 37, asleep in a parked auto in a wooded area beside some train tracks, WCVI-TV reported. The workers found a man - later determined to be Evans - asleep in the vehicle with a small girl in the passenger seat. Evans handed him the girl after Oliver said they needed to go to the station and talk, and then sped away, the chief said.
"We give the glory and our thanks that all prayers have been answered, and that Heidi Todd is safe in the hands of the Federal Bureau of Investigation", said Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said at a news conference Wednesday night where he also said that the girl had been located.
"We don't even know if a vehicle was involved", Tecklenburg said. The abductor, Thomas Lawton Evans, was taken into custody by police and charged with kidnapping.
Investigators say Evans-who apparently has no connection to the family--then took the child all the way to Riverside, Alabama, a small town about 40 miles from Birmingham.
A missing SC 4-year-old girl who'd been missing for a day has been found safe, and her abductor is now in custody. Authorities did not say why he might have kidnapped the girl.
The girl was safe, Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg confirmed.
FBI Special Agent Matt Rhue said in a statement filed Thursday that Heidi's mother returned home and was attacked Tuesday after dropping off her children at school.
"What could have been a day of great tragedy has really been a day of joy", Tecklenburg said.
The FBI had offered a $10,000 reward for information on Heidi's whereabouts, the AP reported.
'The wish and prayer of the Todd family is simple - to find Heidi safely.
Heidi Renae Todd disappeared just before 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
Heidi was officially reported missing 5:50 p.m. Tues. night. Police officers, firefighters, the Coast Guard and other rescue units launched a search near her home on Johns Island.
Crews searched a pond near her Johns Island home Wednesday morning. Authorities have not issued an Amber Alert because of a lack of information on a possible suspect.