A two-year-old girl went missing in South Bristol, New York, and the community was immediately in an uproar. The child had vanished without a trace and seemed to have wandered off into the dangerous woods surrounding the town. Many people loved her dearly, so state troopers got to work trying to find her before anything bad could happen.

New York State Trooper Brian Hotchkiss led the search party to find the two-year-old girl before it got dark and the temperature dropped. The girl’s disappearance in the woods was feared to put her in jeopardy from the wild animals that live there.

Trooper Hotchkiss and his team went door-to-door in the community before venturing into deep woods, but no one had seen the missing child or knew where she could have gone. The sun was setting, and Trooper Hotchkiss knew that if he didn’t find the girl soon, she would either freeze to death overnight or be attacked by a wild animal. The longer it took the search team to find the missing girl, the more unlikely it became that she would be found – or if she was, it would be after irreparable damage had been done.

With time running out, Trooper Hotchkiss got an idea and decided to climb a thirty-minute mountain near the girl’s last known location. The trooper had trouble climbing up the side of the mountain. Once he arrived at the summit, all he could see were various shades of brown and green from the trees that surrounded him; it was breathtaking.

A pink dot in the distance caught his eye, and he hoped beyond hope that it was the coat of the little girl. He ran toward it as fast as he could. As he got closer, he realized that the pink spot wasn’t moving from its place on a rock near a cold stream. His heart leaped into his throat when he realized it was the missing girl, and he hoped she wasn’t injured.

“I followed the stream, and I located the child, she was lying on her stomach on a rock, and I ran over as quick as possible, and I saw her arm move, and I knew she was alive, and my heart just dropped. I was so excited, I ran up, and she hugged me immediately, she wouldn’t let go,” he stated.

The little girl was elated to see the rescuer. She clung to Trooper Hotchkiss as though her life depended on it, which in a way, it did. He had taken a risk to climb the mountain ahead of sunset to check if she had gotten lost at the top when she went missing.

The girl was so cold when she was rescued that one of the troopers wrapped her in a jacket. She was taken to the emergency room for a checkup, just to make sure she hadn’t been injured or suffered in any way during her ordeal. The hospital deemed her healthy and she was able to go back home to her family, where it was much more comfortable.

Trooper Hotchkiss had time to reflect on his bravery during the day.

“I still can’t get that out of my head, her turning over and looking at me and throwing her hands up in the air. I’ll never forget that,” he stated.