Man who saved abandoned newborn reunites with her 58 years later

A man searched for decades to find the newborn girl he rescued from likely death. Now, the mystery is finally solved. After nearly 60 years, the two reunited Sunday.

Dave Hickman says it was by the grace of God that he heard a noise in the woods while he was hunting in southern Indiana at age 14. What he found there would change his life forever.

Hickman recalled, "September 22, 1955, I'd been hunting with my grandfather. And I kept hearing a very odd sound. It wasn't the sound of a baby crying, it was more of a soft cooing sound. I said, 'I have to find out what this is.' So I started walking up the fence."

"I got on top of the fence, I looked down, and there was a little baby. She was soaking wet. Her lips were blue. She was just wrapped in a towel. My grandfather said, 'We have to do something real quick, we have to get help for the baby'."

Hickman and his grandfather called the authorities, who brought the newborn to a hospital where she was treated and given a name -- Roseann Wayne. A few months later, Hickman was given a moment to say goodbye.

"They handed her to me and they said, 'She's being adopted next week.' They had her wrapped in a blanket. She was sound asleep. So I got to say goodbye to her."

But Hickman could never forget that little girl, and he spent the next 58 years trying to track her down.

In December of 2013, he decided to make one final attempt to find her.

Retired Wayne County Sheriff John Catey said, "I got contacted by Mr. Hickman, wanting to know if I could figure out how find the girl that he had found in the woods."

In less than two weeks, Catey called back with news.

"(Catey) said, 'Dave write down this name and this phone number - Mary Ellen Suey and her phone number.' I said, 'OK John, I said who's that?' (He said) 'That's your little girl'," Hickman said.

Mary Ellen Suey was re-named by her adoptive parents. And despite a lifetime of happy memories, she always wanted to learn the identity of the teenage boy who saved her life. Then last December her phone rang. It was Hickman.

"I call him my hero here on Earth because if it hadn't been for Dave, I wouldn't be here right now," she said.

Hickman said, "I heard her voice, and I said my name ... and then I lost it."

Suey said, "It was almost like I had known Dave for years."

Ever since that call, Suey has wanted to meet her hero in person. On Sunday, she finally did.

It was 58 years since they first met, but worth the wait. Suey said at the reunion, "It's kind of like Dave's my big brother I, I didn't know I had."

Hickman said, "I've seen that image of her laying in the weeds, and me standing on top of the fence every day of my life. And I'll probably always see that, but at least now I know there's a happy ending."

Authorities never determined who dumped Suey alongside the road. But amazingly, she says she's not angry at her biological parents for abandoning her. She instead chooses to focus on the wonderful life she's been able to live because of Hickman's actions on that day in 1955.