Dog Leads Owner to Storm Drain, Finds Abandoned Newborn 6' Deep


It was a seemingly normal day as Charmaine Keevy walked her dog Georgie in Port Elizabeth, South Africa on April 3.

The 63-year-old and her Dachshund mix usually take a different route, but for some reason, Keevy decided to walk elsewhere and their journey took them past a storm drain.

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All of a sudden, Georgie started barking as they walked by the drain. “I first thought it was a cat because he is scared of cats, but then when I heard the cries again, I realized it was a baby,” Keevy said.

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She quickly flagged down Cornie Viljoen’s car on Sedan Avenue and he used a steel bar to lift the concrete covering from the drain.

The newborn down below was naked and still had the umbilical cord attached and a coating of vernix around her body.

Viljoen climbed into the 6-feet deep hole and started moving towards the baby when he encountered an army of red ants higher up in the drain that began to sting his legs. The newborn was lucky the ants were not near where she was.

“I didn’t know if the baby was injured so I tried to pick her up very carefully and very slowly and she was so small,” Viljoen told The Daily Mail. “I just wanted to hold her for a while but I knew that she needed urgent medical help.”


He lifted the baby up to Keevy who wrapped the tiny child in her jersey. Emergency vehicles arrived on scene to take the baby, who was found to be suffering from hypothermia and respiratory issues, to a hospital.

“I honestly believe I was meant to find that baby, especially because I usually take a different route on our walks. I cannot help but feel that there is some sort of plan and a purpose for that little girls’ life — it is a miracle without a doubt,” Keevy said.

The hospital staff has reportedly named the baby Grace April, and police are still trying to locate her mother.

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“The baby is OK at the moment but picked up a bit of a viral infection because of exposure to the cold but she’s a fighter and getting stronger,” Viljoen said.

“She is not out of the woods yet but she is breathing on her own now and the nurses say she will make it.”

Keevy posted on Facebook an update confirming that the baby “is alive and snug in an incubator” despite what people have said on social media.

“She is a precious little girl hand picked by God for such a time like this … she has a purpose and a destiny. So let us support the beautiful testimony that God is unfolding … GOD is FAITHFUL. HE IS GOOD … HE LOVES HER.”

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith