VONORE, Tenn. (AP) — The emotional embrace and teary-eyed reunion was well worth the 58-year wait for a Vonore man and the woman whom as an abandoned baby he rescued long ago in a secluded Indiana field.
Dave Hickman, who sent life-changing events into motion when he found an infant girl wrapped in a towel while on a hunting trip with his grandfather in Indiana on Sept. 22, 1955, was recently finally reunited with Ellen Suey, the beloved Baby Roseann whose life he saved.
Hickman and Suey had been searching for each other for years. The mystery of who abandoned the week-old baby remains unsolved.
With more than 50 friends and family looking on, Hickman and Suey were reunited the weekend of May 4 in Richmond, Ind., during an emotional gathering.
"I saw Ellen and recognized her from the pictures she had emailed me," said Hickman, who had corresponded with Suey over the past year.
"I pointed at her and she came running. It was a very, very emotional situation."
Suey, who now lives in Riverside, Calif., said the reunion was everything she hoped it would be.
"It was really nice," said Suey.
"I just felt like I had known Dave forever and just hadn't seen him in 20 or 30 years. He's like the most wonderful person you'll ever meet. It was so nice to get to meet my Earthly hero, and get him to tell the story over again so I can put it out of my mind."
But putting the story out of his mind was something that Hickman was unable to do since, as a 14-year-old boy, he heard a strange cooing sound in the field that led him to the abandoned baby.
The images of the bloodied baby, with the umbilical cord coagulated to the towel, haunted Hickman for the last 58 years.
The abandoned child, named Baby Roseann by her caretakers at the Wayne County Welfare Department, was quickly adopted by a local couple who soon moved out of state.
Hickman's lifelong search to find the baby he rescued led him to John Catey, a well-connected retired Wayne County (Ind.) sheriff.
Catey's exhaustive investigation finally solved the puzzle, leading Hickman to the 58-year-old Suey.
Hickman brought emotions to a crescendo during the reunion when he presented Suey with three symbolic pink roses.
"This is actually our third reunion," Hickman told Suey.
"The first rose is for a little baby girl left in the woods that God led my grandfather and me to find.
"The second rose is for a little baby named Roseann who was brought to me by two angels of mercy for me to say goodbye to.
"The third rose is for a very special lady saved by the hand of God Mary Ellen Suey."
Suey was overcome by the gesture.
"That was very, very nice," she said.
The reunion also included a powerful visit to the exact place in the field where Hickman found Suey more than half a century ago.
"I wanted to see the spot," said Suey.
"It was more than I could fathom. These people really did send me out to die. I don't hold any ill feelings toward them, I just want to know why. They truly wanted me to die."
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