SAVANNAH, Ga . – (WSAV) It’s a mysterious story.
A dog who’s afraid of people and doesn’t even like to go outside… disappears from a family’s home in Strathy Hall.
Jake McDaniel was diagnosed with fragile X syndrome at 18 months old. It’s a genetic condition that causes intellectual disabilities affecting speech and behavior, and in his case, autism.
“It just causes the autistic tendencies with him,” his mom, Nichole McDaniel says, “Anxiety, he has speech delays and things like that so its hard for him socially, he has some barriers that are kind of hard for him to overcome.”
That’s why they got him a fury friend, with the same shy, anxious and nervous tendencies, someone he could relate to and lean on.
“Jake feels like he’s helping him out and it just really became like his best friend,” McDaniel says, “He spends all of his time with him when he’s at home. A lot of times, we have to get Jake, to talk him into going places because he wants to stay here with Newton.”
Newton is a one year old English bull dog. He’s tan with white tummy and a few white spots on his head. He can’t keep his tongue in his mouth because of his overbite, and as Jake’s little sister, Cooper, says, “He’s really chubby.”
So what happened to Newton?
On Sunday afternoon, Jake went to take the trash out and left the front door cracked. The family thinks Newton had to use the restroom so he went out front. But, he never came back.
“There was a party going on over at the stables so my husband figured he probably didn’t go over there because he’s nervous of loud noises and sounds and stuff like that so they went and looked actually down the road the other way,” says McDaniel.
They spent hours searching the neighborhood, knocking on doors, and asking people if they’d seen him. But the whole thing just didn’t make sense.
“He takes it easy and is very cautious about everything, so that’s not something that would be normal of him to do,” says McDaniel.
Things got even more weird when they approached the party at the stables next door and a teenage boy told them he had seen their bulldog running around, chasing people and trying to bite them.
“That’s when we were like no that’s not Newton.. um even chasing people would be not Newton,” says McDaniel.
The boy told them that their dog was trying to get in a car, but others at the party said he went off behind the stable into the Marsh.
They were able to get permission from the stable owner to look through the stable, but Newton was nowhere to be found.
That night, Jake had to go to sleep beside an empty dog bed.
“He can’t express how he feels or like his emotions and so a lot of times, they come out more so in behaviors,” says McDaniel, “It’s like something bothering him we can just even start seeing some behavior problems going on… he would never even tell us what it is.”
This morning, they noticed he was getting nervous. “He was just going window to window.. looking out and just saying everybody’s looking for him mom,” she says, “Just kind of repeating himself over and over again… a hundred people are looking for him… one hundred people are looking for him mom, one hundred people are looking for him.”
And the McDaniel family is afraid it will only get worse for Jake.
“We’re just hoping that ya know we can find him and get him back before Jake really like starts thinking he’s not coming back and we start seeing more problems.”
He was last seen at the family home on Mill Run Terrace in the Strathy Hall area of Richmond Hill.
If you have any information about Newton’s whereabouts, you can contact the McDaniel family at 843-597-6866.