SOUTH BRISTOL, N.Y. (WROC) — New York State Trooper Brian Hotchkiss saved a missing 2-year-old girl from the top of a mountain on Saturday, saying 20 to 30 minutes could have entirely changed the outcome.
When the 911 call came in to the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office for the missing girl, they called the state police to help. Hotchkiss knew it was a fight against the clock. A sheriff’s K9, drone team, and investigators were also called along with the state police.
“These missing kids, it can go really bad. It’s time-sensitive depending on the time of year, so although it was a nice day, the temperature was dropping,” he said.
He and the other members of law enforcement knocked on neighbors’ doors, but as sundown loomed, they had to make a decision fast. Hotchkiss and two other troopers decided to climb the mountain a half-mile from the girl’s home.
“The mountain was virtually in her backyard, and there were streams and ponds and all these things that we were all worried about.”
He said it took him about an hour to get to the top. When he reached the top, all he saw at first was grey and brown in the trees, but then he saw a pink dot. He knew from dispatch that the girl was wearing a pink shirt when she disappeared.
“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 and she wouldn’t let go.”
He said she was shivering when they found her, and another trooper wrapped her in his uniform to keep her warm. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital and he said she’s safe and healthy now.
“I still can’t get that out of my head, her turning over and looking at me and throwing her hands up in the air. I’ll never forget that.”