Shelter Dog Meal Donation Count:

Learn More

Potential Dognappers Claim Boy’s Puppy Is Dead, But Dad Keeps Searching

Written by: Molly Weinfurter
Molly Weinfurter is a writer for iHeartDogs, and she’s passionate about helping animals in need. She volunteers for Bailing Out Benji and a local dog rescue.Read more
| Published on August 31, 2022

Getting their first dog is one of the most exciting moments a kid can experience. But a boy named Chase only got to spend a month with his Lab puppy named Sam before she disappeared. The 5-month-old pup ran away from the family’s apartment in Boise, Idaho.

Sam is still missing after over a month of searching, but Chase’s dad, Chico McKinney, refuses to give up. After one sighting and some disturbing text messages, he’s more determined than ever to bring the puppy home. But now, he suspects that she was kidnapped and is being held for ransom.

Boy's puppy lost

The Search Begins

McKinney spent the first week spreading fliers around the neighborhood and going door-to-door asking for sightings. He said Sam has cream-colored fur, but she has a few brown spots on her shoulder. She also doesn’t have pigment in her nose or around her eyes and mouth.

“She’s about 5 months old so she’s probably still pretty small and gangly,” McKinney said. “Somebody said they saw her walking on Kootenai and Owyhee, somebody walking her, some college-age kids, they said.”

But after that first sighting, McKinney didn’t hear anything for a while. They searched near where the puppy had been seen with no luck. Then, McKinney received a suspicious text asking if there was still a reward.

Pink reward poster

Bizarre Text Message

When most people find a lost dog, their first message is something along the lines of “I found your dog.” So, asking about the reward first made McKinney uneasy. Yet, he confirmed that there was still a reward and asked if they found her.

After McKinney asked for pictures, the person sent a few photos of Sam, which helped McKinney feel better. However, the person wanted proof of ownership, such as paperwork from the breeder, before they’d return her. McKinney told them he’d only feel comfortable giving that information in person, and after that, the person stopped responding.

RELATED: Dog Stolen To Breed At Puppy Farm Returns Home 2 Years Later

Within a few minutes, McKinney got another unusual text claiming that Sam was dead. This seemed even more suspicious, and McKinney assumed the suspects were just trying to get him to stop looking.

Proof of found puppy

“So my friend messaged you guys about your dog and I’m sorry to inform you that she isn’t alive, I don’t know how but they found your ad and thought dead or alive the reward would apply. She’s in the backyard buried, she’s been there a few days now. My friends just wanted the reward. I’m truly sorry,” the text said.

Help Bring Sam Home!

After that, McKinney finally decided to get the police involved. Yet, they were unable to trace the phone numbers because they came from internet-based numbers. McKinney said he’ll keep searching as long as there’s hope.

“As long as it takes, really,” McKinney said. “I mean, I don’t think we’ll give up until we don’t think there’s any hope. And right now, I still feel like there’s hope.”

Green reward poster

McKinney said if the people who have Sam do the right thing, he won’t be mad anymore, and he’ll thank them. So, if anyone has information about Sam’s location, they can call the Ada County non-emergency dispatch at 208-377-6790, Crime Stoppers at 208-343-2677, or the number on the fliers at 208-860-3197.

Featured Image: YouTube

Recent Articles

Interested in learning even more about all things dogs? Get your paws on more great content from iHeartDogs!

Read the Blog