Pregnant woman hailed as hero for saving baby at Maumee Bay Stat - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Pregnant woman hailed as hero for saving baby at Maumee Bay State Park

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A Toledo woman who is seven months pregnant is being hailed as a hero for her quick thinking that helped save a young child’s life.

A one-year-old girl wandered away from family during a Father’s Day barbeque Sunday night at Maumee Bay State Park.

Witnesses spotted her floating face down in the inland lake, not Lake Erie.

The baby’s mother Melinda Sexton says it was an accident.  There was a miscommunication over who was supposed to be watching the baby on shore. 

She’s grateful for the strangers who came to her daughter’s rescue.

16-month-old Chandra Warnke is all smiles on the playground near her Toledo home less than 24 hours after nearly drowning at Maumee Bay State Park.

"I just thought my baby was gone and I was never going to hold her again,” says Melinda Sexton, Chandra’s mother.

Sexton says she had been swimming in the deep end of the inland lake with her two oldest daughters.  Chandra’s father was cooking on the grill.  Sexton says they left the one-year-old under the watch of other family members when someone noticed Chandra was missing.

"We were getting ready to leave and I heard someone yell, "Help that baby!'" says Jessica Taylor, a South Toledo mother of two who does not know Chandra’s family but was also enjoying a Fathers Day cook-out on Sunday at the beach.

"We look over and we just see this little pink bathing suit floating in the water,” says Donni Harris, who was also at Maumee Bay for a family gathering.

Harris jumped into action.

"She had just floated away,” says Harris. “Her mom dived over to her. She got to her as fast as she could. We drug her to the dry land and I just remember thinking, 'Oh my God, I can't let this baby die."

Harris, who is seven months pregnant, started doing CPR.

"This poor baby girl,” says Harris. “She was purple in the face. I was terrified."

 "There was nothing to her. She had no life,” says Sexton.

Harris says she starting having a panic attack, so Jessica Taylor continued CPR on the baby.

"I got about 16 compressions in and she spit out the water,” says Taylor.

"When she took that breath and that water just choked out of her, that was the highlight of my life,” says Sexton.

"It was a miracle.  She came back,” says Harris. 

Both Chandra and Harris were rushed to the hospital.

Doctors released them after they recovered.

Now Chandra’s mom calls Harris her hero, her angel, her new best friend.

"I'm going to do everything I can for this woman, for her baby, because of her my baby is still here,” says Sexton.

Sexton says Chandra was wearing a life vest, but Ohio Department of Natural Resources says it was not U.S. Coast Guard approved.

Mom says it was a special type of pink bathing suit, but now she’s getting a new, approved life jacket.

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