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Veteran’s service dog hit by vehicle, killed

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, August 4, 2012, at 11:10 a.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, August 15, 2012, at 9:07 a.m.

An Army veteran’s service dog reported stolen Friday evening was found dead overnight along I-135, Park City police said Saturday.

Authorities recovered the body of the dog late Friday night near 61st Street North and I-135, more than four hours after the dog had reportedly disappeared from a Park City car wash, Officer Keith Goodall said Saturday morning. The dog, a Doberman named Red, was seen running toward the highway when it was struck by a vehicle, he said.

Police say the body of the dog was returned to owner Ryan Newell, a veteran who lost his legs when an improvised bomb detonated in Afghanistan in 2008.

Newell, a Marion resident, had stopped at the car wash near 61st Street and Hydraulic shortly before 7 p.m. to let the dog out of his vehicle. Newell told police he noticed his dog had disappeared about the same time a man and woman driving a silver extended-cab pickup with 60-day tags sped away from the car wash.

Newell called police about 8 p.m. Friday to report the dog stolen after searching a nearby neighborhood for about an hour, Goodall said. He was passing through town when the dog disappeared, police say.

“His belief was that the dog was stolen based on the suspicious nature of the people in the bay next him,” Goodall said of Newell.

Goodall said police continue to investigate the dog as a stolen “until we find otherwise.”

Newell was arrested outside Wichita City Hall in November 2010 after sheriff’s deputies found two handguns and more than 90 rounds of ammunition in his car as police inside the building were meeting with members of Topeka’s Westboro Baptist Church, a group widely condemned because it protests at soldiers’ funerals across the country.

Although Newell was charged with a felony count of conspiracy to commit aggravated battery, he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges and was placed on probation.

Contributing: Hurst Laviana of The Eagle

Reach Amy Renee Leiker at 316-268-6644 or aleiker@wichitaeagle.com.

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