BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (WLOX) - Two police officers in Bay St. Louis were honored Tuesday night for their quick actions that saved a one-year-old girl’s life back in December.
On Dec. 22, 2018, a teenage family member called 911, telling dispatchers the infant child had walked out and they couldn’t find her. Just three minutes later, a second call to 911 was made. This time, the caller was even more in a panic.
“My baby! She is still in the water! And she’s not breathing!”
The dispatcher quickly sent first responders to the scene. The first two officers to arrive were patrol officer Bailey Ordoyne and his partner James Sanchez. The two men quickly sprang into action, performing CPR on the small child, a girl named Harleigh.
Body cam video from the officers show Ordoyne picking Harleigh up and running with her as soon as the ambulance arrived. Sanchez sprinted alongside him, rushing to get the baby girl help.
Harleigh’s mom Kashmir Spain said she was dead for more than 70 minutes before doctors were able to revive her.
It was 76 minutes without anything but the doctors, police officers and emts that night took turns with many different things helping the main doctor work on her until they got her back and she was airlifted to Oschner Main Campus in New Orleans. I truly imagined they were going to come out and tell me she was gone.
“When we left the hospital, she was a vegetable," said Spain, who held back her tears while holding the grinning toddler. “She couldn’t do anything. She couldn’t eat by mouth, she couldn’t sit up, she couldn’t move, couldn’t smile. It took her two months to smile again. They told me that if I took her home, she was going to be there but she wasn’t going to be there. But I think we can say that she she is definitely there!”
Sanchez credits Ordoyne for taking the lead, saying his partner’s previous training was invaluable and vital to saving Harleigh’s life.
“I mean it was pretty much... a blur. I mean, it is just something we are trained to do," said Sanchez. "And when we got there, I had an officer who was trained in the medical field to help me out. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I mean he has been through the training and has a knowledge of it.”
Ordoyne, whose wife was pregnant at the time, said holding Harleigh’s body that night was personal for him.
“It is just the same feeling as when I go home to my young one,” he said. “I got a newborn at the house...and it just reminds you of how life is precious.”
Tuesday night at a city council meeting, Ordoyne and Sanchez were awarded medals for their heroic actions. The city also recognized the dispatcher, firefighters, and paramedics who attended Harleigh that night, as well Harleigh’s teenaged family member who stayed on the phone with the dispatcher after the second call to 911.
Despite being honored and the praise that comes with being recognized, both officers said the real reward was being able to see how Harleigh has recovered since that agonizing night in December.
“The feeling of seeing what we saw, seeing the video back of what took place, and then being able to see her like this, is the greatest feeling you can have," said Ordoyne. "I mean it really is. To see that she is coming along and doing a lot better, and that she is still alive, you can’t fix that feeling. You can’t explain that feeling.”
There is one feeling that Harleigh’s mother, however, has no problems putting into words: gratitude.
“I don’t think that I could ever thank them enough," said Spain. "I don’t know what I would have done if I really would have lost her.”
Harleigh is still in physical therapy and has a long road to recovery but she’s well on her way.
“It’s been a very difficult six months but she’s improved so much from hyperbaric oxygen therapy, more then doctors ever said she would," said Spain.