Stolen 2 years ago, “Sadie” recovered and reunited with family at daughter’s 5th birthday celebration

JURUPA VALLEY — When a couple’s family pet was stolen two years ago from their Jurupa Valley yard, they never expected to get their beloved Great Dane “Sadie” back. But in spite of the passing of years, the couple’s daughter – now 5-years-old – never gave up hope of someday being reunited with her enormous pal.

The little girl’s hopes and dreams came true Saturday, Aug. 25, when she and her parents’ prayers for Sadie’s safe return were answered. The family shared a joyful reunion – on the girl’s 5th birthday – after Riverside County sheriff’s deputies recovered the family’s stolen pet during a theft investigation involving an $80,000 tractor.


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Deputies investigating the Aug. 23 theft from an area construction site quickly tracked the stolen John Deere tractor to an undeveloped parcel of land on the 8400 block of 58th Street in Jurupa Valley the next day.

Stolen two years earlier, Sadie was found chained to a large concrete block during a tractor theft investigation. Riverside County Department of Animal Services photo

During their tractor theft investigation deputies discovered Sadie chained to a large concrete block, Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Julio De Leon said after the stolen dog and tractor were recovered. The dog appeared to have no food and an empty water bucket sat nearby.

After locating the piece of equipment and dog, deputies authored a search warrant for the property. Knowing something didn’t seem right, the deputies also contacted Riverside County Department of Animal Services for assistance in recovering the 3-year-old pooch and identifying her rightful owners.

A quick microchip scan by Animal Control Officers Dane Ericson and Christopher Peck indicated Sadie belonged to Adam and Makayla Hagan, who had since moved from Jurupa Valley to Lake Elsinore.

Adam and Makayla couldn’t believe their ears when officials contacted them about Sadie being found during the tractor theft investigation.

The couple later told officials they had been searching for Sadie ever since she was stolen but had all but given up hope of ever being reunited. Their daughter Charlie on the other hand had always held out hope that she might someday get her beloved pet and companion back.

“For the last almost 2 years every time Charlie prayed, tossed a coin in a fountain, saw a shooting star, or blew a wish off a dandelion, it was all she ever wished for, to have Sadie to come back to us,” Makayla later said of Charlie at a joyful birthday reunion held at Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley on Saturday.

“I guess there’s a reason they say pray like a child,” Makayla said. “Because here we are and her prayers were answered!”

Not sure how Sadie would respond, on Saturday the couple did not tell Charlie about the good news when they brought her to the kennel to be reunited with Sadie.

To their relief, upon being reunited Sadie seemed to immediately recognize her old family.

Sadie’s owners, Adam, Makayla, and Charlie, share a joyful reunion with their long-lost family pet on the girl’s 5th birthday. Riverside County Department of Animal Services photo

“As soon as I walked back there, she looked at us through the cage and jumped up on it and was just wagging all over the place,” Adam later said.

During the heartfelt reunion – which can be viewed below – Adam and Makayla had Charlie close her eyes and wait for her big birthday surprise, as they strung a Happy Birthday sign over Sadie.

When Charlie opened her eyes, she burst into happy tears at the sight of her old friend and Sadie seemed just as happy as she lovingly nuzzled the birthday girl and her parents.

Atkinson Construction Company was also thrilled to have their $80,000 tractor back and a representative later said the company was happy that the investigation into the theft of their tractor led to the recovery and return of Adam, Makayla, and Charlie’s long-lost family pet.

A 48-year-old Jurupa Valley resident has been identified as a suspect in the tractor and dog theft, but the suspect has yet to be located or arrested, according to De Leon.

Jurupa Valley PD’s investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information about this investigation is encouraged to contact the Jurupa Valley Police Station at (951) 955-2600. Callers can refer to incident file number JV182360032 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s CrimeTips online form.

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Trevor Montgomery, 47, recently moved to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 14 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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