DCFS Puts Girl who Nearly Drown in Custody of Relatives - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Jefferson County, IL

DCFS Puts Girl who Nearly Drown in Custody of Relatives

DCFS Puts Girl who Nearly Drown in Custody of Relatives
By: Carly O'keefe

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Il. --A young Jefferson County girl is released from the hospital after nearly drowning but not allowed to go home with her mom and dad.

Macie Higginson's father made a terrifying discovery in the pond behind the family's home. Sunday evening, four-year-old Macie fell into the pond behind the family's Jefferson County home and nearly drowned.

"He went back to the pond and saw the dog, and when he went to where the dog was at, she was floating face down in the water," said Jefferson County Deputy Lonnie Lawler.

Lawler and Deputy Jim Marler responded. Lawler has worn the badge for less than two months, but he says when he saw Macie, lifeless and wrapped in a blanket, his training and instinct kicked in.

"We immediately started CPR, I was doing the chest compressions, Deputy Marler was giving the two breaths," Lawler said.

When paramedics arrived four minutes later, the two deputies and EMT's worked together, and were able to get the little girl breathing on her own.

"The ambulance personnel and also the doctors in Saint Louis said that if we hadn't started performing CPR when we did, she possibly wouldn't be alive today," said Marler.

All Jefferson County deputies go through CPR training once a year. Deputy Marler--a 12-year veteran on the force says he's never used that training before Sunday, on Macie Higginson.

Now the deputies will receive medals of valor for their efforts and a new pin to wear on their uniforms indicating their actions on the job saved a life.

"The deputies' efforts I think played a big role in hopefully that child's full recovery," said Jefferson County Sheriff Roger Mulch. "But I also that child had somebody more powerful than you and I was watching over her."

The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) says the four-year-old can't go back home, at least not for now.

A DCFS spokesman says the decision was made Thursday not to allow mom and dad take little Macie back to their home after she was released from Cardinal Glennon Hospital five days  five days after the near drowning.

Macie was released from the hospital into the custody of a DCFS caseworker Thursday evening. She and her sibling will stay with relatives until the DCFS investigation is complete.

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