Quick rescue saves boy
Mother charged after deputy finds young child moaning in icy stream
By PAUL NELSON, Staff writer
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First published: Saturday, January 23, 2010
PALATINE -- The collar of a Doberman puppy and whimpers of a little boy led a Montgomery County sheriff's deputy to pluck the youngster from a stream at the bottom of a ravine, authorities said.
The 31/2-year-old had wandered away from the family's Oswegatchie Road home in rural Palatine Bridge with the pet after being left alone outside by his mother last weekend, the sheriff's office said.
Between 15 and 20 minutes elapsed before Stacy Freeman, 32, called for help shortly before noon on Jan. 16 because she first tried to look for her only son by herself.
Deputy Thomas Crosier was searching for the boy when he spied the animal's blue collar at the top of a ravine and then heard the child moaning as he descended the roughly 60 feet to the bottom.
"He wasn't physically able to remove himself from the water," said Investigator Brad Schaffer, adding the weight of the child's soggy winter clothes prevented him from getting out of the frigid water. The youngster, who was found face up in the water, was taken to St. Mary's Hospital in Amsterdam where he was treated and released after a few hours. Schaffer said the child and the dog are doing well.
The mother has been charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child. Because of prior work commitments, it was not until Friday that she turned herself into authorities, Schaffer said. She was released without bail pending a court appearance next month. The family on Friday declined comment. The detective said the ordeal was a reminder that adults need to keep a constant watch on young children.
This time, he said, Crosier averted a tragedy: "Our position is he saved the child's life."