A woman showed up at a fire station in Baton Rouge, La., on Tuesday evening for unspecified medical assistance, but it wasn't until Wednesday morning, when she was being taken to a facility for treatment, that she happened to mention her baby, authorities say. That mention led to what the Advocate called a "massive search" that turned up a healthy 8-month-old lying in a nearby field. Officials say when the mom initially brought up the topic of her son, IDed by WAFB as Niguel Jackson, they talked to relatives who said she'd had the baby boy with her when she'd left her apartment on Tuesday.
That spurred an hourslong ground and air search for Niguel involving cops, firefighters from numerous cities, a helicopter, and a K9 unit. The chopper finally spotted Niguel on a swath of land just over some trees from the mother's apartment, and rescuers, with the help of the mother, were able to track down the baby and retrieve him. "The timing didn't give us a lot of hope, but the baby was tough," EMS spokesman Mike Chustz tells the Advocate, adding that the infant who'd spent the night alone in the field, in temps that had fallen down to close to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, "didn't even cry" as he was found.
A Baton Rouge Fire Department spokesperson tells WAFB that Niguel seemed to be OK and was taken to a local hospital to get more fully checked out. The mother won't face charges, as the incident appeared to have been brought on as a result of her medical issues, per a spokesman for the Baton Rouge Police Department. In a statement, Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome thanked first responders and volunteers who helped make little Niguel's rescue possible. She also noted that anyone suffering from a mental health crisis should seek out help through the city's various resources, including via local walk-in clinics. (Read more missing baby stories.)