Grandpa and Marine Vet Allegedly Lured Into Washington Woods to Die Survives Thanks to His Cunning Dog

Washington woods
Ralph Roberts was coaxed to a remote wooded area (not pictured) in Washington State. Getty Images

A Washington State man allegedly lured by his neighbor into the woods and left to die over a dispute over some dirty dishes said he survived on pond water and help from his four-legged friend.

Ralph Roberts, a marine veteran from Stevens County, paid his neighbors teen son $10 an hour to help out around his house.

When the teenager came over to do the dishes and Roberts said he did not do an adequate job, so Roberts refused to pay the boy. According to court documents obtained by KXLY, the teen complained to his father, John Prince Jr., about the incident, and when he did the father decided to take matters into their own hands. The man allegedly coaxed Roberts to a remote wooded area, by telling him they had something to show him that was at their home a quarter-mile away, according to deputies. 

Roberts, who uses an oxygen tank to breathe and has trouble walking, said he trusted the pair and followed with his dog, Leia. 

However, it didn't take long before Roberts said he sensed something wasn't right. "Y'all are planning on leaving me down here to die," said Roberts. "He wouldn't speak to me or nothing, wouldn't even give me a hello or nothing, and that's what they did."

The neighbor "robbed him and left him there unable to walk. He said that he had pleaded not to be left but they had abandoned him," the Stevens County Sheriff's Office said

Battling temperatures in the high 90s, Roberts drank pond water for three days to stay alive, crawled around trying to find help and screamed, but only heard an echo, Roberts told a reporter from KXLY after he was rescued.

"I didn't want to die," Roberts said. "I haven't seen all my grandchildren yet."

On day three, as things were getting grimmer, Roberts told his best friend, Leia, who stood by his side the entire time, to find their landlord and next-door neighbor, Roy "Tag" Canfield. 

"Look, you got to go find Tag," said Roberts to his dog. "We're both going to die right here."

Leia understood and seized the mission.

"She found Tag. She went straight to Tag," said Roberts as he recounted the ordeal. "Tag knew that I was somewhere around here." 

Canfield, who told authorities he had not seen his pal Roberts for a few days, called 911. When deputies arrived on the scene, Roberts had been screaming for help. His screams turned to elation when he was found.

"That was a dream. I knew I was going home," Roberts said. "I thanked them all. Trust me. And, that's what saved my life was that dog." 

Roberts is now safely back with his best friend, Leia, and knows he has a lot to be thankful for

"Oh, God, I crawled a very, very long way," said Roberts. "Putting me out there in those mountains really did hurt me bad, and I don't want to ever go through that again."

Price was arrested and charged with attempted murder, authorities said. Court records show he is due back in court next month.

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