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Culpeper Times • July 19-25, 2018
Culpeper Town Officer rescues child with autism ➤ Girl found in drainage ditch after opening garage door By Jeff Say
Culpeper Times Staff Writer Culpeper Town Police Officer Matt Satterfield had already fallen and was limping, but he was still alert. Satterfield was searching for a missing 7-year-old autistic girl on July 6, when he saw movement along a muddy bank. There was Grayce-Anne Heheh. Culpeper Town Police received a call of a missing autistic juvenile in the early evening of July 6, in the area of Magnolia Circle. Five officers responded, and Satterfield was familiar with the area. He knew of the dangers a child with autism faced - the woods, the roadway, but one geographic location stood out to him. He immediately headed down to the pond that sits at the back of the subdivision. “That was my biggest concern,” Satterfield said. That’s when he tripped and got caught in barbed wire, left over
from an old farm property. Bleeding, his uniform in tatters, he started to limp back through a construction site, not really sure how he had got turned around. That’s when he saw her. Sitting in a drainage ditch filled with mud and water, Grayce-Anne was playing. “I almost missed her at first,” Satterfield said. “She was all covered in mud. I saw the mud kind of move around and I said ‘on my God, that’s her right there on the bank.’” Knowing she was autistic, Satterfield was careful not the overstimulate the 7-year-old. She didn’t respond to his requests to move away from the bank, so he had to step in to retrieve her. “I was still trying to coax her out a little bit and she wouldn’t come out, so I tried to lift her out and I realized I was stuck,” he said. “I started to panic a little bit. I was finally able to free one foot and all the time I’m trying to talk to her, ‘sweetie, honey, my name’s Matt, I’m here to take you back to your daddy.’ Finally I grabbed her and I was able to free my last boot.” Panic enveloped the little girl and she panicked a little bit, but ➤ See Rescue, Page 5
PHOTO COURTESY CULPEPER POLICE DEPARTMENT
Culpeper Town Police Officer Matt Satterfield smiles after reuniting Grayce-Anne Heheh with her father Rohan on July 6.
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