Victim’s dog led deputies to kidnapping, arson suspect hiding in woods, deputies say

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POLK COUNTY, N.C. (WSPA) – A dog in Polk County is being called a hero after leading deputies to an arson and kidnapping suspect who had been hiding from them for hours.

7 News spoke with the kidnapping victim who owns the dog. She told us she is forever grateful for her loyal, protective pet.

According to the owner, she and her dog, Apollo, have been pretty much inseparable since she got him when he was only six weeks old. She told 7 News, once you get to know Apollo, he’s a big teddy bear. And others agreed.

“A very friendly dog. A good boy,” JJ Sauve, with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, said.

JJ Sauve said he and his colleagues have encountered Apollo on a few different occasions and have always had a positive experience with him.

“Apollo jumped in one of the cars and didn’t want to get out,” Sauve said. “He was very sweet and covered all of the deputies in mud, licks, and kisses.”

But what Apollo did recently was the greatest thing Sauve said he has ever personally witnessed a dog do.

On Monday, arson investigators with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office were called to a house fire. That house belonged to Apollo’s owner, and deputies believed the arson suspect was hiding in the woods nearby; but they didn’t know exactly where–until Apollo showed them.

“Deputies noticed Apollo coming out of the woods into a roadbed and actually approaching the deputies, and then that was when the deputies followed Apollo directly back to the suspect and took him into custody,” Sauve said.

It’s something Sauve told 7 News they’d been trying to do for hours.

“A search was conducted,” he said. “A fire department drone with thermal imaging was flown, but the subject was not located.”

That suspect was Meko Lockee, and not only was he wanted for arson, he was also wanted for kidnapping after a domestic incident involving Apollo’s owner.

Sauve told 7 News it was a no-brainer for the sheriff’s office to make Apollo an Honorary k-9 Deputy for his heroic actions–helping get Lockee away from his owner and behind bars.

“A dog that just has that natural urge to do right,” Sauve said. “Potentially saved the victim’s life.”

Apollo’s owner’s home is a total loss. She is now getting assistance from American Red Cross.

Lockee was booked in the Polk County Jail on a $104,000 secure bond. He was charged with arson, kidnapping, assault of a female, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, larceny, larceny of a motor vehicle, breaking and entering, communicating threats, and failure to appear.

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