AUSTIN EDITION Neighbor plunges in to save a 4-year-old

Associated Press

INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, Minn. -- Four-year-old Christian Pfuhl was playing outside when he evidently wandered away from his town house complex.

To his mother, Jolene Nelson, the boy seemed to be missing forever. It was more like 20 minutes, but she had additional reason for worry: Christian has autism, which means he has trouble communicating.

With police called and the neighborhood alerted, a frantic search began.

Enter Rick Pedrow, who had just arrived home Sunday evening.


When he realized he had forgotten something in his car, Pedrow -- dressed in boxer shorts and a T-shirt -- went out to the driveway to retrieve it. A passing police officer alerted him that a little boy was missing.

Pedrow joined the search. A couple of neighborhood kids told him they had seen a little boy, who was wet, playing near a deep ditch.

The ravine is about one-third of a mile in circumference, ringed by town homes and a parking lot. It has a steep bank on one side.

Near the bottom is a marsh overgrown with cattails, weeds and brush tall enough to easily obscure a child. Because of the recent rains, the water was unusually deep in the gully.

Pedrow waded waist deep into the muck, saw ripples in the water and spotted a boy walking in shoulder-deep water toward an even deeper part of the pond.

Pedrow caught up to the child and carried him up the hill to safety.

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