FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — A local judge is being hailed as a hero after saving a missing child whom he found floating in a murky pool.
The judge said a higher power deserves all the praise.
"As I step back and look at it, it's really one of the most fascinating things I've seen," Forsyth County Magistrate Judge Phil Bettis said.
The judge told Channel 2's Carl Willis that Forsyth County deputies were out searching for a 2-year-old who had been missing for nearly 30 minutes along Campground Road.
Bettis said he got a reverse 911 call about the child and it dawned on him exactly where to look: in the pool at his late mother's home.
"I think that was a godly intervention to take care of that child. I went straight to the pool,” Bettis said.
He told Willis he could hear the boy before he even got to the backyard. He couldn't believe what he was seeing.
"He's spread-eagle in the pool with his diaper and his shirt on, but floating," Bettis said.
Bettis said he immediately slipped into the pool, floating on his back, being careful not to make waves or panic the child.
"It was almost like the wind blew or he motioned enough to get me close enough to stretch from the edge of the pool to reach in. I grabbed his left foot and pulled him toward me. I tried to calm him and say, ‘It's OK. I got you," Bettis told Willis.
The boy was saved. His mother was jailed for cruelty to children and reckless conduct.
Bettis said that, moments before the alert went out, he had received news about his own son, learning that the 29-year-old would be deployed to Afghanistan. But he said this miraculous rescue has given him peace of mind.
"I realized, if the Lord can take care of that little boy, he can take care of my boy," Bettis said.
Authorities say the child has been taken into custody by the Department of Family and Child Services.
Cox Media Group