A two-year-old girl who went missing is safe with her family once more thanks to the efforts of the New York State Trooper who found her on March 27.
Trooper Brian Hotchkiss spotted the child while helping the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office with the search in South Bristol, WHAM reported.
“It was getting close to getting dark out and getting cold. We wanted to get the search done as soon as we could,” Ontario County Sheriff Kevin Henderson recalled.
Hotchkiss was one of the state troopers who responded to the area of Bristol Mountain.
“I began knocking on neighbors’ doors with a couple other troopers, alerting neighbors to check their property. They started contacting other neighbors and resources for help,” he explained.
When there was still no sign of her, Hotchkiss and two fellow troopers began climbing a mountain he described as “kitty-corner to Bristol Mountain,” according to the Democrat & Chronicle.
The troopers each split off on different paths to search.
Hotchkiss said the hike winded him, “But I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I didn’t check so I kept climbing and climbing.”
“After about 45 minutes into my climb I looked up to the summit of the mountain and all I could see was brown and gray trees, dirt,” Hotchkiss said.
Then his eyes landed on something.
“And within the tree line of the summit in the middle of the stream I saw a pink dot,” he explained, adding the dispatcher told them the girl was wearing a white skirt and pink shirt.
Once he found the stream and followed it, he saw the little girl.
“She was laying on her stomach on a rock. 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,” he recalled.
Once Hotchkiss alerted the other searchers, Trooper Jason Stirk wrapped the girl in his uniform and Hotchkiss carried her to safety.
The New York State Police shared a photo of the trooper and the girl who was cold and wet but otherwise unhurt after wandering away from home:
“I’ve seen these go really bad. We weren’t giving up. We were fearing the worst was going to happen. Her turning and looking at me, throwing her hands up in the air, that’s something I’ll never forget,” Hotchkiss said of the rescue.
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