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On Sept. 5, Earl Melchert stopped by his home momentarily to pick up something he'd forgotten.

For almost a month, the 15-year-old girl from the nearby town of Alexandria had been held captive in a mobile home by three men.

The police department presented Melchert with a $7,000 reward - $2,000 from the Block family and $5,000 from an anonymous donation - Friday, but he squarely refused.

Wyffels called Melchert a "hero" at a meeting with Melchert and Block's family on Friday.

But he soon realized it was no animal - it was the 15-year-old girl who had vanished on August 8 from her Alexandria home.

The girl told police that she'd escaped from an abandoned house, near Melchert's property, where the three suspects allegedly kept her for the previous few days.

"I was usually in a closet and I usually stayed quiet because I was scared they might hit me or do something", she said, according to Fox 9.

"He believes that young lady that came running towards him that September day is the real hero and without hesitation, Earl handed the reward over to her, followed by a big hug", the department said on Facebook.

When they handed Earl the check for the reward earlier this week, however, he immediately gave it to Block.

He said Block should get the money, instead. He told Wyffels in a phone call that he "could use that money more now than ever", the police chief recounted during the presentation, "but it wouldn't be right".

Block told WCCO 4 News that she escaped when the men left because they told her it would be an hour before they returned.

So when Melchert, 65, spotted movement hundreds of yards away in the grasslands one day last month, he thought it might be just that - a deer.

'We wanted to thank him.

During her captivity, the girl was also taken from Barker's residence to "various locations including a cornfield and a foreclosed property in Grant County", police said.

"The family needs the money", he told the Times. But this made me look at things a lot differently.

"I've been waiting to meet him", Jasmine's mother, Sarah, told the TwinCities.com. He mentioned that it was a lot of money but that the family needed it way more than he did.

In the post, Chief Rick Wyffels thanked Melchert for his generosity adding, "it is people like you that make this world a better place". "Things are looking up". He restrained Block with zip ties, repeatedly assaulted her and threatened her with weapons, police said.

Barker and Powers also face charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, and Barker faces an additional charge of second-degree assault.


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