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Crews rescue mother, child in Appomattox River: 'I've never been more proud'

Posted at 2:36 PM, Jan 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-11 18:44:55-05

HOPEWELL, Va. -- A baby and a mother are recovering after being rescued from the Appomattox River Monday morning.

Officers responded to the 500 block of Riverside Avenue for a report of a woman and child in the Appomattox River at approximately 10:27 a.m.

Before arrival at the scene, police say bystanders observed the woman taking a child into the cold water.

With water temperatures in the high 40s, Hopewell Police Lt. Mike Langford says everyone responded to the area, detectives, patrol officers, and Fire & EMS.

Police arrived first at the scene.

"At least 3 officers went into the water," said Langford. "They didn't hesitate one bit. They jumped into that water to save that child's life."

Officers were in waist deep water when they reached the child. They immediately began rendering medical attention.

Susan Gill was watching as Hopewell Police and Fire and EMS brought the child to the top of the hill.

"Going above and beyond and showing that compassion and empathy and doing what they need to do to get the job done and to save lives," said Gill.

"The police department had started CPR, we continued with CPR with the baby and did advanced life support procedures with the baby, actually here on the side of the road, while the ambulance got here," said Hopewell Fire & EMS Chief Donny Hunter.

The Hopewell Fire Department was able to resuscitate the child prior to being transported to VCU Medical Center for further medical attention. The child is expected to recover.

Police say the woman, who had walked about 100 yards off shore, was pulled to safety by the Hopewell Fire Department and their rescue boat.

She has been transported to John Randolph Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

EMS also had to treat three police officers on the scene.

"They're in soaking wet clothes. It's cold here, especially something that emotional and that hard, you're not thinking about it and your body will actually go into hypothermia and lock you down too. So, not only what they did was amazing but put themselves at a huge risk to do it too," said Hunter

"I've never been more proud of what they've done because everybody did more than their share of it," he added.

The Hopewell Police Department Criminal Investigations Unit has launched a criminal investigation as it appears the mother may have attempted to drown the child.

Hopewell Police is asking anyone with information regarding this incident or who may have been traveling in and/or around the area at the time or have any information to provide, to contact Lead Detective Keith Krueger of the Hopewell Criminal Investigations Unit at (804) 541-2284.

Anyone with information on this crime and who wish to remain anonymous may contact the Hopewell Prince George Crimesolvers hotline in Hopewell at (804) 541-2202 or provide their tip using the P3tips mobile app.