32-year-old Angelo Mondragon was taking a Sunday stroll around 2:30pm along Colorado’s Windsor Lake. He was nearly waist-deep in the water when his foot brushed up against something unusual.
He told the Coloradoan, “It felt like something you normally wouldn’t feel in the water. I did sort of a back kick to bring up whatever it was, and then I saw the bottom of a baby’s foot float up.”
What he discovered was the lifeless body of 4-year-old Sitlali Hernandez.
“I grabbed her and carried her limp body to the shore. The girl was already blue. She wasn’t breathing,” Mondragon told reporters. Nearby were two nurses who heard Mondragon’s screams and together, they administered CPR until paramedics arrived.
Today, Sitlali is recovering at Children’s Hospital in Aurora, where she is said to be doing “okay.”
Mondragon visited her for the first time since the rescue, saying “I’m coming to let her know that I love her and that she’s apart of my family now.”
Sitlali shouldn’t have been near the lake without a life vest, Mondragon suggested. He is now working with local residents and businesses to collect life vests for those who can’t afford flotation devices for their children.
Mondragon says, “If I was not in that right spot at the right time, it could have been a search and rescue mission. As I told the little girl’s mom, when I saw the baby’s toes that became my baby.”
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