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Off-Duty Police Officer Hears Screams, Rushes Over to Find 2-Year-Old Not Breathing and Turning Blue

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Mary Giedeman, Stephen Lopez and their 2-year-old daughter, Carmella, have made a new friend in Columbus, Ohio, thanks to a terrifying incident that occurred in June.

The couple and their daughter moved to Ohio and were staying with a friend while they looked for a place to live. On June 19, they got home from grocery shopping and Giedeman put the dog outside while she unpacked groceries.

But then her mom senses sent up an alarm: It was too quiet.

“When your kid gets quiet, it’s like, ‘Oh, what are they doing, they’re into something,'” Giedeman told Fox News. “Normally it takes me a minute to realize it, but something kicked in right away.”

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As she looked through the house, she noticed the door to the backyard was ajar.

There was a pool in the backyard. And Carmella was in it, floating, unresponsive.

“I dove in and I pulled her out and put her on the deck,” Giedeman said.

Giedeman didn’t know how to perform CPR, but she did what she could: She started screaming.

Over and over, at the top of her lungs, she screamed for help even as her daughter before her started to change color.

“I really did not know what to do. I was completely panicked. She was starting to turn blue already.”

Five houses down, Brian Wilson had just gotten home from a 15-hour canoeing trip with his family. He heard the screams and followed them.

Wilson, an officer with the Columbus Division of Police, was disheartened with what he saw when he found Giedeman and Carmella. The little girl did not look good.

“She was very blue,” he told WBNS-TV. “Her face, lips were very blue. She was not breathing. I did not feel a pulse.”

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“I was definitely worried,” he said. “I mean, I’ve done CPR a few times in my career. That was the first time I’ve done it on a child. And quite honestly, just the way she looked, the way she felt, you know, she was very limp.”

While other responding neighbors called 911, Giedeman prayed and Wilson continued CPR.

“I just felt so helpless,” Giedeman said. “I feel like I failed her. As a mom, I’m supposed to be able to protect her and everything and I just didn’t know what to do. It just happened so fast.”

Before first responders arrived, Carmella started coming to. She vomited and started to breathe.

She was taken to the hospital, where she spent several days, but thankfully was able to return home in good condition. Carmella’s parents are incredibly grateful to Wilson, and he’s obviously a hero to all of them.

“We always say, ‘Brian saved her,’ but really in reality, he saved all of us because we would not be OK remotely ever if he hadn’t gotten there … if he hadn’t showed up,” Giedeman said.

“It’s not anything special,” Wilson said, denying that he was a hero. “It was something that I just happened to be there [for] at the time, and had some training.


“If you have the ability to help somebody, regardless of what it is, I would hope that any decent person would do it.”

To thank him, the family made signs and placed them so that he’d see them on his way home from work. They made an impact, and Wilson has been changed by the experience as well.

“Driving down the street, seeing Carmella play with my kids, it was — you know, again, being a dad, I started tearing up a little bit, you know,” he said.

“It’s just one of them, you know, feelings that’s unbelievable.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking