Every time you read about an abandoned newborn and think, "what kind of depraved human being would do that?", you're having exactly the same thought 14-year-old Dave Hickman did on Sept. 22, 1955, when he found a days-old baby girl left to die in the Indiana field where he was squirrel hunting.
After hearing a cooing noise, he stumbled upon the infant, cold, wet, and "laying in the brush and sticks ... looking up me," says Hickman, who now lives in Tennessee.
But unlike anyone who casually read the headline, Hickman says he thought about that little girl every day for the last 58 years, and as the Palladium-Item reports, he finally got serious about tracking her down in December.
The infant was dubbed Roseann Wayne by nurses, her surname coming from Wayne County, where Hickman found her. She was adopted by a couple, and was even brought to say goodbye to Hickman, but then disappeared.
Eventually Hickman hooked up with a retired Wayne County sheriff, who says he talked to some 75 people aged "80 or better" before he hit pay dirt and found Baby Roseann in California.
She is 58-year-old Mary Ellen Suey—mom to two, grandmother to four—and, as Hickman says, "a very lovely lady." The two have talked by phone and plan to meet in May.
"There was an instant bond between Ellen and me," says Hickman. "It's almost as if she was my baby." Says Suey: "He's my hero." (Click for the story of a police department that has honored an abandoned baby every year—for the past 26 years.)
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