For many parents, their biggest fear is that their child goes missing. That’s why parents have rules like telling a parent before going outside and staying close while at a store, amusement park, or other crowded location.
A New York State Trooper, however, expected the worst when they were out of the middle of the woods looking for the missing 2-year-old girl.
As a trooper for six years and longer in law enforcement, Brian Hotchkiss knew that missing-child cases could turn out badly.
“These missing kids, it can go like, just, really bad. It’s very time-sensitive depending on the year, so it was, it was — though it was a rather nice day, the temperature was dropping,” Hotchkiss told WROC-TV.
“The mountain was virtually in their backyard, and I mean there were streams and ponds and, you know, all these things that, you know, we were all worried about.”
The officer was about to follow up on an assignment on March 27 when the report came in at their barracks in Farmington.
The case became the priority, so Hotchkiss and another trooper drove as fast as possible to South Bristol, where the 2-year-old child was reported missing from her home on County Road 33.
Before heading into the deep woods, Trooper Hotchkiss and his team knocked on doors across the community. Unfortunately, this did not bear fruit as no one had seen the missing child and had no idea where she could have gone off to.
As the sun began to set, Trooper Hotchkiss knew that time was running out before the girl was at risk of freezing to death overnight or getting attacked by a wild animal. He also knew that the longer it took the search team to find the missing girl, the more likely it was that she would never be found – or would be found after it was too late to help her return to her family.
As time was running out, Hotchkiss and two other troopers decided to go up the mountain. They each took different paths.
“I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I didn’t check. I kept climbing and climbing after about 45 minutes of the climb, I looked up to the summit of the mountain and all I could see were trees and dirt,” he said.
There, he spotted something that didn’t belong: a “pink dot.” The dispatcher had told him that the girl was wearing a white skirt with a pink top, so he thought this could be it. Hotchkiss knew he had to investigate, and when he finally got to the stream, he saw the child.
“I followed the stream, and I located the child, she was lying on her stomach on a rock, and I ran over as quick as possible, and I saw her arm move, and I knew she was alive, and my heart just dropped. I was so excited, I ran up, and she hugged me immediately, she wouldn’t let go,” he said.
Without a doubt, the little girl was glad to see the rescuer.
“She was laying on her stomach on a rock,” Hotchkiss recalled. “I ran over to her as quick as possible and was calling her name. I saw her arm move and I knew she was alive. My heart just dropped, I was so excited. I ran up and she hugged me immediately and she wouldn’t let go.”
Hotchkiss took his radio and alerted the other searchers that he had found her at the top of the mountain. Trooper Jason Stirk wrapped the freezing child in his uniform, and Hotchkiss carried her down the hill.
The little girl was shivering when found and started crying when she saw the NY state trooper. Hotchkiss trekked down the mountain as fast as he could, and after 30 minutes, they were back on the ground.
Watch the video below to hear more about this amazing rescue and to hear what the 2-year-old did that Hotchkiss will never forget:
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