Armin Wand III and Jeremy WandSometimes heroes come in uniforms -- military, fire, police. And sometimes they're just people who were in the right place at the right time, like the mystery woman who snatched a 2-year-old from the arms of her father just as cops say he was going to put her back inside a burning building. It's an unspeakable horror, but Wisconsin police say a dad and uncle set fire to a home with four kids and their mom inside in an attempt to wipe out his entire family and start fresh.
All three of Armin Wand III's sons -- aged from 7 down to just 3 years old -- perished in the fire. But by some miracle, Wand's pregnant wife Sharon and 2-year-old daughter Jessica are still with us, and cops are crediting an unnamed woman for that.
According to the police reports, Sharon Wand was sleeping in the living room of her Argyle home with 3-year-old son Joseph. Jessica was sleeping in one bedroom and 5-year-old Jeffrey Wand and 3-year-old Joseph Wand were sharing another bedroom. That's when Armin allegedly set the blaze with the help of his brother, Jeremy.
What the two men are accused of is the kind of stuff you only see in one of those crime shows aired late at night after the kids go to bed. It's twisted. It's sick. It makes me want to throw up.
The Wand brothers are accused of locking the two older boys in their bedroom, of setting fire to the couch little Joseph was sleeping on, and lighting crumpled up sheets of paper, then setting them around the futon where Sharon slept.
Cops allege this "dad" -- a term I use loosely -- planned to collect life insurance and start a new life, and he was going to pay Jeremy $300 out of his windfall.
It all fell apart when Sharon, luckily, escaped the flames with little Jessica in her arms. And that's when it gets even more disturbing (which, frankly, I didn't think was possible in this story). Cops say Armin distracted Sharon by telling her to move the family's car, and he was attempting to put Jessica BACK into the burning building!
Picture that for a second: it's horrifying to think of sleeping children dying of smoke inhalation. But this girl had to be awake by now! And he was going to let her burn alive, awake?
It was then that this stranger, who has not been identified, pulled up and managed to stop the horror.
She sounds like some sort of angel sent by who knows what, doesn't she? When you watch those crime shows that describe scenes like this and see the hero bust in in the nick of time, you roll your eyes because it never happens like that in real life.
But it did. This woman got there right when it counted most.
She saved this baby girl. And who knows, she may have saved Sharon too. The grieving mom is in a hospital now, recovering from severe burns and the loss of her unborn baby, but who knows what Armin and Jeremy might have had up their sleeves for her if no one had shown up to intervene.
That's not the kind of thing you can ever repay really, but I hope Jessica will be able to take comfort in that as she grows up... knowing she has someone watching over her.
The Wand brothers, meanwhile, will hopefully never get to see her again. They are now facing a series of serious criminal charges. It's too bad we don't burn people to death anymore ... if they're convicted, it seems like it would be a fitting punishment.
What do you make of the miracle stranger who saved this little girl's life?
Image via Lafayette County Sheriff's Department