SPOKANE, Wash. — A Washington man who says he was left in the woods for three days is crediting his dog with saving his life.
Ralph Roberts, of Stevens County, said he was recently lured into the woods and left to die.
He said he had hired his neighbor’s 16-year-old son to come over to do his dishes, but Roberts told him he hadn’t done a good job, reported KXLY.
Deputies said after the teen’s dad, John Price Jr., heard about the exchange, the father and son went to Roberts seeking payment. Then, Roberts said, they told him they had something to show him at their house.
Roberts and his dog, Leia, followed them into the woods, where he said the neighbors left him.
“Y’all are planning on leaving me down here to die,” Roberts said he’s asked them. “And he wouldn’t speak to me or nothing. He wouldn’t even give me a hello or nothing, and that’s what they did.”
Deputies said Roberts normally uses an oxygen tank and can’t walk well.
“Oh God, I crawled a very, very long ways,” Roberts said.
He also said he screamed repeatedly but only heard an echo. Yet he still kept it up.
“I didn’t want to die,” Roberts said. “I haven’t seen all my grandchildren yet.”
The Marine veteran said to stay alive, he drank swamp water for three days. During it all, he said his best friend, Leia, was by his side.
“The last day, I said, ‘Look, you have to go find Tag. We’re both going to die right here,'” said Roberts, referring to his landlord Roy Canfield, also known as Tag, who lives next door.
“She found Tag,” Roberts said. “She went straight to Tag, and Tag knew that I was somewhere around here.”
Canfield said he called 911 in the middle of the night after realizing something was wrong.
“Things just didn’t look right up there,” he said. “And that wasn’t Ralph. He never went around and left his dog out and stuff.”
Deputies later found Roberts — cold and shirtless — a quarter-mile down a hill near a swamp after hearing his screams for help.
“That was a dream. I knew I was going home,” Roberts said. “I thanked them all. Trust me. I thanked them all.”
But he is especially grateful to Leia. “That’s what saved my life was that dog.”
Price has been charged with attempted murder.
KXLY reported that deputies said the charges were based on Roberts’ statements and “the fact that there is no way he could have physically gotten down through the woods and the swamp on his own.”