National Edition

Rescuers recall 'distinct voice' that spurred them to rescue trapped toddler

'We know there was some other help there,' officer said

Published: Sunday, March 8 2015 1:45 p.m. MDT

"Got the door open, and Lee jumped up with me and held the door while I kind of got down inside, grabbed the baby girl, lifted her out of the water and unhooked the car seat," Taultomadakis said. "Didn't really think about anything except trying to get her out. Once I got ahold of her, I could tell that she still had some life."

After Taultomadakis pulled Lily out, the police officers and firefighters started passing her up the hill until she got into Warner's arms.

"I ended up with the child in my arms and I just ran up the hill and into the ambulance and we drove off, started CPR and anything we could do to just save her," he said.

Lily was improving Sunday, according to Jill Sanderson, Groesbeck's sister.

"She is doing remarkably well considering the circumstance. The doctors have been hopeful so far," Sanderson said. "We would like to express our appreciation to the Spanish Fork rescue team for saving the baby's life."

But as Sanderson and her family were thankful that Lily's life was saved, they were also mourning Sunday the loss of her mother.

"Her baby was the love of her life. She was an amazing mother," her sister said. "She was very compassionate and a very loving person and always willing to bend over backwards for her loved ones."

Several of the firefighters who jumped in the river, which was 10 feet deep in places, were treated at a hospital Saturday for hypothermia.

"The water temperature is so cold, but we don't really feel that until a long time after as far as how cold you actually were," Beddoes said.

All of the rescuers involved said both instinct and adrenaline kicked in once they realized there was a toddler still alive inside the vehicle.

"It definitely picks up your adrenaline a little bit. Once you find out that somebody had been in there for that long and they've got a chance from your efforts, it's very rewarding. It makes everything worthwhile," Mecham added.

All involved said the rescue operation went as well as anyone could have hoped for.

"We couldn't have asked for anything to have gone better. All the officers did exactly what they needed to do. All of our guys did exactly what they needed to do. It was seamless and everybody knew where they needed to be. It went very well, very fast," Mecham said.

Groesbeck was the youngest of five children, including three brothers. She lived in Utah County all of her life, going to school at Provo High and was currently enrolled at Provo College. Being in the outdoors and spending time with her family were two things that she loved doing, Sanderson said.

A gofundme account has been set up to pay for funeral expenses and medical care for Lilly at www.gofundme.com/o8bwp0.

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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