DENVER — The detective who discovered and rescued a missing 2-year-old Aurora girl on Thursday said he had to use his police baton to break into the SUV she had been locked inside for hours.
Two-year-old Miracle Adu and her mother, Tiffany Hardy, were reported missing Thursday.
Aurora police contacted Denver police after learning the two were likely in Denver.
Police located Hardy early Thursday morning after she was reportedly walking around Denver’s Hilltop area naked. When officers tracked her down, Hardy was incoherent.
This posed a problem, since Hardy wasn’t able to remember where she left her SUV with her daughter, Miracle, inside it, police said.
Eventually, Hardy mentioned an area near M.L.K. Jr. Boulevard and North Monaco Parkway.
"I just immediately responded to the last area we were searching,” said Gavin Whitman, a detective with the Denver Police Department’s Missing and Exploited Persons Unit.
Whitman, 28, had just been promoted to detective in October.
While out on patrol Thursday afternoon, he saw what appeared to be the SUV police were looking for.
"When I approached the vehicle, there was a little bit of snow on it,” he said. “[I] cleared that off and immediately saw baby Miracle sitting in the carseat of the vehicle”.
Whitman tried opening the door, but it wouldn’t budge. So, he used his police baton to bash open the driver’s side window.
"As soon as I broke the window, baby Miracle started bursting out crying — which is a good thing in that case!” Whitman said.
Whitman said the SUV was freezing.
According to police, Miracle had likely been inside of it for hours.
The 2-year-old was transported to Denver Health Medical Center for evaluation.
As for Hardy, Denver police said they are looking into whether she should be charged — or if she, herself, was also a victim.