“I’ve seen that image of her laying in the weeds and me standing on top the fence every day of my life. And I’ll probably always see that,” 72-year-old Dave Hickman told CBS.
When Dave was just 14 years old, he was hunting with his grandpa in the woods when he heard a faint cooing sound. As he moved toward the noise, his jaw-dropped when he laid eyes upon the source of the faint sound—it was a baby girl. She was soaking wet with blue lips, and wrapped in only a towel.
He and his grandfather went to get her help immediately. They took the baby to the authorities who brought her to the hospital where she was treated and given a name: Roseann Wayne.
After a few months, Roseann was to be adopted, and Dave was given the chance to say his final goodbye.
As he held her in his arms, he couldn’t fathom the impact that she would have on him the rest of his life.
He spent the next 58 years wondering what had become of the little angel who he says was saved by the “grace of God.”
His searches continually came back void, and he started to lose hope that he would ever get to see the only face that could put to rest his haunting memories. He just needed to know that she was okay.
Then, in December of 2013, Dave decided to make one final attempt to find her. He contacted retired sheriff John Catey—who came back with shocking news just 2 weeks later.
Catey called Dave and told him to write down the name and phone number of Mary Ellen Suey.
Dave replied, “Okay John. Who’s that?”
“That’s your little girl,” he said.
Mary Ellen had since been renamed by her adopted parents, which is why he had such a difficult time finding her. The choked up Dave could hardly believe what was coming through the phone line.
After 58 years, he finally got to lay to rest the unsettling, recurring image of the abandoned baby and replace it with the picture of the beautiful woman Mary Ellen had become:
Their emotional reunion brought tears from both sides as they relived the reality of how very different her life would have been had the 14-year-old not heard her cry that day in 1955.
“I call him my hero here on earth because if it hadn’t been for Dave, I wouldn’t be here right now,” said Mary Ellen, who had always wanted to know the identity of the teenage boy who saved her life.
At their long-awaited reunion, Dave presented her with a single pink rose as tears puddle up in his eyes and he said,
“For a very special lady, saved by the hand of God.”
Authorities still haven’t traced down who it was that abandoned Mary Ellen in the woods that day. Amazingly, she is not bitter at her biological parents for leaving her. Instead, she chooses to focus on the wonderful life she’s been able to live because of Dave.
She doesn’t need to know who left her.
…She only needed to know that she was found.