Good help is hard to find, but thankfully most of us don’t run into the sort of “help” that Ralph Roberts had to deal with last month.
Roberts is an elderly Marine veteran living in Stevens Conty, Washington, with his faithful dog named Leia.
While he still manages to get around, he doesn’t walk particularly well and needs to have an oxygen tank with him most of the time.
To help with chores around the house, Roberts has hired a 16-year-old neighborhood teen for $10 an hour — but on July 19, the work wasn’t up to snuff.
Apparently, Roberts refused to pay the young man for washing dishes because, Roberts said, the boy hadn’t done a good job. The dishwasher didn’t like the sound of that and reportedly complained to his father, John Price Jr.
The elder Price allegedly confronted Roberts and then told him that he had something to show him. Roberts, trusting his neighbor, followed Price elder and Price younger into the woods, where they abandoned him.
“[I] said, ‘Y’all are planning on leaving me down here to die?'” Roberts told KXLY-TV. “He wouldn’t speak to me or nothing, wouldn’t even give me a hello or nothing, and that’s what they did.”
Thankfully, Roberts’ faithful furry friend stuck with him.
For three days they were out in the woods, drinking swamp water and surviving temperatures that got up into the 90s while Roberts screamed, trying to alert someone.
Ralph survived off of swamp water for three days. According to court documents, Stevens County deputies say he was lured into the woods by his neighbor, John Price Jr., and left him there to die. pic.twitter.com/L0wLQztYZZ
— Kaitlin Knapp (@Kaitlin_Knapp1) August 11, 2020
“Oh, God, I crawled a very, very long way,” Roberts said. “Putting me out there in those mountains really did hurt me bad, and I don’t want to ever go through that again.”
Things didn’t look great for Roberts, but he wasn’t done with life yet and had a reason to keep fighting to survive.
“I didn’t want to die,” he explained. “I haven’t seen all my grandchildren yet.”
On the third day, Roberts knew his situation was dire, so he sent Leia off to find help.
“The last day I said, ‘Look, you got to go find Tag.’ I said, ‘We’re both going to die right here,'” he recounted. “She found Tag. She went straight to Tag, and Tag knew that I was somewhere around here.”
Tag, or Roy “Tag” Canfield, is Roberts’ landlord and next door neighbor. When he saw Leia wandering around, he knew something was wrong.
Canfield called 911, and a search was started. Thankfully, Roberts was found — cold, scratched and shirtless, but alive.
Price was arrested based on Roberts’ account and “the fact that there is no way he could have physically gotten down through the woods and the swamp on his own,” police said.
“That was a dream,” Roberts said of being found. “I knew I was going home.”
“I thanked them all. Trust me, I thanked them all. And that’s what saved my life was that dog.”
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