As he spotted a toddler strapped into her carseat and locked in a hot car, Corporal Darryl Wormuth whispered to himself, “God, please let this child be alive.”
The one-and-a-half year old girl’s head was tilted forward and she wasn’t moving. She was alone in a hot car and it turns out she had been there for hours. As the corporal moved closer to check on her – thankfully, she was breathing.
Hours earlier, he had made a disturbing discovery – a man lying face down in a nearby grassy area in Suitland. After calling for backup and emergency medical help for the man he noticed he had a lanyard around his neck with keys and a car key fob. When Corporal Wormuth hit the panic button on the key fob it failed to activate any of the cars in three nearby lots.
Roughly three hours after the man had been taken to the hospital, the officer returned to the apartment complex because “something just kept nagging at my mind.” While patrolling the same area he began to hear music coming from a parked car. When he walked up to the car, he saw that the driver’s side window was down and that the engine was running. He looked into the open window and that’s when he saw the infant girl in the backseat and he said that prayer. He immediately called for backup. Once he was certain the little girl was breathing and alert, he summoned the property manager of the apartment complex. Responding officers and the complex manager gave the little girl chicken nuggets and water.
“When I got there he was in, like, hero mode, taking care of this baby, making sure she was OK,” building manager Latrice Leake said during a news conference. “He calmed her down. He kind of became her dad in that moment. She needed a dad — and he became that to her.”
Wormuth added, “I started rubbing the child’s arm slowly, gradually wake her up and of course she began to start crying,” Wormuth said. “She slowly started breaking that cry down and I got a smile out of her.”
The officer was able to located the man’s cellphone where he saw there were dozens of missed calls and text messages from the child’s grandmother. He was able to get in touch with her and the girl’s mother and arranged for them to take the girl home.
The unresponsive man was later identified as the child’s father, and charged with reckless endangerment. Additional charges are pending.