A nightmare became reality for one mother in 1997 when an individual impersonating a nurse abducted the woman’s newborn son from a hospital in Lakewood, Washington. Both police and the FBI began an intensive search for the newborn baby, Stewart Rembert.
Thankfully, a rookie FBI agent found Rembert 19 hours later in a box next to a restaurant dumpster in nearby Tacoma, and was able to reunite him with his parents.
The suspect was later sentenced to 10 years in prison for kidnapping.
After that case, Agent Troy Sowers often wondered what became of that baby and what he had accomplished in his life.
But he thought he would never know the answer.
Sowers has continued to work with the FBI over the past 22 years and has even moved from Washington to Knoxville, Tennessee to continue working with the Bureau.
The case of newborn baby Rembert, however, has remained one of the most powerful memories in Sower’s life.
“In one of my final supervisors’ meetings, I commented that I felt like I’ve had a pretty solid career,” Sowers told The News Tribune. “In the first couple of months I pulled a baby out of a box. And when I ended my career, I got to meet Dolly Parton here in Tennessee.”
“This is what I came to the FBI for, to do good things like this,” he continued. “We had found him, he was alive, he was going to be returned to his parents. It doesn’t get any better than this.”
Knowing how much of an impact this case had left on Sowers, his colleagues planned a special surprise for him during his retirement party on Friday Aug. 9, 2019; they invited Rembert to Tennessee to help celebrate Sowers and his service with the FBI.
Rembert, who is now a corporal in the Marine Corps, was “excited and honored” to meet the man who saved him 22 years earlier.
“It’s crazy to think that without his efforts, I wouldn’t even be here today,” he told NBC News. “I wouldn’t be a Marine.
“My family wouldn’t be the same.”
When Rembert walked into the room, Sowers was shocked. The two thanked each other for their service and hugged.
Sowers called the unexpected reunion “one of the best surprises” he’s ever had.
“When I saw him, I had to pause a couple of seconds to keep my composure,” Sowers told The News Tribune.
“It was a wonderful way to leave the bureau,” he said. “To actually see the good he is doing and to meet him on my last day in the office.”
The retiring FBI agent then retold the story of Rembert’s recovery, allowing Rembert to hear details he had never heard before.
“All of this wouldn’t have happened if you wouldn’t have found me,” Rembert told Sowers. “I wanted to thank you for giving me the opportunity of a life.”
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