Toddler Reunites With the Man Who Saved Her Life After Being Left in a Hot Car Overnight

Police officer with girl he saved

When Seminole County Deputy Bill Dunn first met a 3-year-old girl at her apartment complex, the unnamed toddler was clinging to life. According to police, her mom, Casey Dyan Keller, had left the little girl in a hot car overnight after stopping by a liquor store and by the time Dunn rescued her from the closed vehicle, the overheated child was slipping in and out of conciseness. As a father himself, Dunn was determined to save her life and days later, the pair were reunited for the first time. 


Police believe that Keller took her three kids with her on a liquor run before returning to her apartment around 11:15, NBC 2 reports. She allegedly brought two of the children inside but left the 3-year-old in the closed car. 

When the 33-year-old mother woke up Sunday morning, she realized that her toddler wasn't there. She then allegedly called 911 and reported both her car and toddler missing.

Fox 35 reports that the girl was left in the car for more than 12 hours and when Dunn arrived, he immediately found her in the car parked in the apartment complex's lot. She was "sweaty and limp" while still secured in her car seat. Dunn quickly got her out of the car and although she was losing consciousness, she was still alive.

Police officer with girl he saved

Dunn recognized how serious the situation was and put her under his car's air conditioning vent as he rushed her to the hospital. "I know the brain can only accept a certain degree before it gets damaged and so I put her face right underneath there just trying to cool her down, you know?” he told KTVU.

The toddler's mom was arrested and charged with child neglect with great bodily harm. 

Casey Keller
Seminole County Sheriff's Office

Dunn waited at the hospital and didn't leave until doctors in the emergency room told him that the toddler would survive, hours later. But this hero was given the incredible opportunity to meet with the girl days later after her father called to thank him for saving his child's life. "It was just like playing with my little girls," he said. "It comes easy when you’re a dad sometimes.”

For the emotional meeting, Dunn brought the child a stuffed animal and in return, she gave him a massive hug. He told NBC 2 that the special moment was the highlight of his nine years in law enforcement.

Both the child and Dunn are very lucky that he didn't make a different -- and tragic -- discovery that morning as it's incredibly easy for a cars to reach temperatures deadly for children in a short period of time. Danielle Manning with the National Weather Service in New Orleans explained to the Sun Herald after an infant in Mississippi was found dead in a hot car, that it doesn't have to be scorching outside for the inside of a car to become fatally hot. 

A car's temperature can reach 30 degrees higher than the outside temperature within 30 minutes. Unfortunately, Kars4Kids explains that it only needs to be 104 degrees before a child's organs start shutting down.

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