ALEXANDRIA, Minn. (AP) — Police in Minnesota held a ceremony to reward a man who helped rescue a teenage girl who had been kidnapped and held captive for nearly a month. But Earl Melchert had other ideas.
When Alexandria Police Chief Richard Wyffels handed Melchert a $7,000 check on Friday, the farmer turned and gave it to the girl, along with a big hug.
Wyffels says Melchert believes the girl is the real hero.
Prosecutors say the 15-year-old was held captive for 29 days last month. She was repeatedly raped and kept locked in a closet before she escaped and swam across a lake to safety. Melchert saw her running across a field, recognized her, and sheltered her in his truck until police arrived.
Three men have been charged with kidnapping and other counts.
[Image of Melchert and Wyffels via Alexandra Police Department]