2-year-old found crying in alligator-infested wood after being mysteriously separated from mother
The moment little Kamiyah Vicks was found alone in the woods was captured by the body camera of a Savannah Police recruit on Wednesday. The girl had been missing for 18 hours, and police still have no clue of how she became separated from her mom.
The 2-years-old girl was reported missing on the early hours of Wednesday. The police officers who attended the call found the girl’s mother, who hasn’t been identified to the media yet, in distress. Officers stated that the woman was in some kind of “emergency state,” but didn’t know if it was psychological or just a result of the crisis of not finding her child.
Kamiyah and her mom live at Lake Shore neighborhood in Port Wentworth, and they were last seen together around 5 p.m on Tuesday near Benton Boulevard and Highlands Boulevard in Savannah. After taking the mom to the hospital and interrogating her, police found Kamiyah’s stroller and the woman’s flip-flops near a local lake.
Fearing that the girl would have fallen into the lake, officers started a search around the area, inspecting the water on boats, the woods on foot and even with a helicopter to cover a broader range of the wooded area
Several teams including Savannah Police, Savannah Fire, Georgia State Patrol, Chatham County Marine Patrol, as well as search and rescue teams from Chatham Emergency Management Agency and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division were involved in the search.
At 12:30 PM, three recruits from the Savanah Police who are in the second week of training at SPD Patrol School, were walking into the woods when they heard the girl crying. “That's a child, that's a child,” exclaims the man recording the moment, as they run towards the girl.
“Lord I love you, thank you,” said the man as the little girl comes into view.
Kamiyah was found in a brush standing next to a tree, and the moment she sees the officers she immediately stops crying and extends her arms to one of the men. Cadet Robert Parker can be seen pulling the girl from the brush and holding her while another man gives her some water.
Then, they proceeded to describe the girl’s outfit and her physical state, saying that she had some scratches and was probably dehydrated, but she was okay to have been alone in a wood infested with snakes, alligators and other wildlife for almost 18 hours.
“My reaction is relief because these things don’t always end up this way," Parker said to WTOC. "The child screamed because she heard us, I’m sure. She’d been out there for quite a while, but, you know, open arms, ready to go. She was thirsty. She was tired, and she was hot. So we got her the proper medical treatment and hopefully get her back reunited with her family.”
Police are still trying to decipher how did the girl went that far by herself after being separated from her mom, and how they became separated in the first place.
Savannah Police Department posted the video of the emotional moment on their Facebook page and took the time to praise the men who found the girl. “These officers are so early in their careers at SPD, and we can't wait to see what other great things they will do for the department! They will officially graduate from Patrol School and get their official SPD badges in August.,” they wrote.
Port Wentworth Police Chief Matt Libby said the case is still under investigation. He also stated that depending on what they find, the mother could face criminal charges, or the case could be handled by a Division of Family and Children Services.