Trooper who rescued 2-year-old on mountain: ‘She wouldn’t let go’

New York News

SOUTH BRISTOL, N.Y. (WROC) — New York State Trooper Brian Hotchkiss saved a missing 2-year-old girl from the top of a mountain in South Bristol on Saturday. He said 20 to 30 minutes could have entirely changed the outcome of the incident.

When the 911 call came in to the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office for the missing girl, they called state police to help. Hotchkiss said he knew they were fighting against the clock. “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.

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,” Hotchkiss said. “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 climbed through the trees to reach the top, all he saw at first was grey and brown in the trees, but then he saw a pink dot. Hotchkiss said 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,” Hotckiss said. “And I knew she was alive, and my heart just dropped. I was so excited. I ran up. She hugged me immediately. She wouldn’t let go.”

He said she was shivering when they found her and another trooper wrapped her in his uniform to keep 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,” Hotchkiss said. “I’ll never forget that.”

A sheriff’s K9, drone team, and investigators were also called in to respond to the missing child along with the state police.

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