Shelby Co. first responders heartbroken following drowning


SIDNEY, Ohio (WDTN) –  Friday was an emotional day for first responders after the outcome of their rescue efforts ended tragically.

3-year-old Noah Bickford and his mother, Maurissa Bickford, 39, died after she attempted to rescue him from a rotting ice pond in their backyard.

Preliminary autopsy results show the mother died of probable drowning and hypothermia, according to the Shelby County Coroner’s Office.

2 NEWS spoke with the Sheriff’s Office about the deputies efforts to save both victim’s lives.

The deputies worked hand-in-hand with firefighters and county engineer employees.

Zachary Rogers and Samuel Deathrage, the county employees, were just on their rounds when they noticed the small child wrestling in the pond to get out.

They dove into action, belly crawling on ice to pull him out and later calling for backup.

Their boss was stunned to learn about what many are calling a heroic act.

“I was in awe and I was very impressed by what I was hearing from everyone that told me what a great job they did,” County Engineer Robert Guey reflected. “But, I think the sad part of this is we didn’t have a better outcome. And our employees feel that. They’re very heartsticken that it wasn’t successful, but I’m very, very proud of them.”

Friday, Rogers and Deathrage declined to interview, but for humble reasons.

They say they were just on the job doing what needed to be done.

Crisis counseling has been offered to help these 2 humble men through any grief; the same has been offered to those in the Sheriff’s Office who are also dealing with the aftermath.

Sheriff John Lenhart tells 2 NEWS his deputies arrived 6 minutes after the 9-1-1 call was placed.

And in his reviews, the sheriff says the crews used every resource to help these victims.

“The resources– like the animal straps (were used) when the K-9 officer got there,” Lenhart explained. “Neighbors brought a boat in that was close. You know, it was a neighborhood effort to do the very best we could.”

But despite their speedy efforts, both the victims died and that is weighing heavy on Sheriff Lenhart’s staff.

“We always soul search ourselves, ‘Could I have done this? Should I have done this? What would have happen if I didn’t stop for lunch; would I have been in that area for patrol?,”‘ Lenhart questioned. He described it as “Sunday morning quarterback that sort of thing. But it does take its toll and I think it especially takes its toll when a child is loss, not that adults certainly, but a child puts a harder factor, a hard tug on it.”

While officials are applauding the efforts of all those who were involved, officials want to warn the public of the dangers of trying to rescue those who have fallen into bodies of water, particularly those that are frozen.

If you decide to help, which they do not advised, authorities ask that you take a couple of seconds before you do anything to call 9-1-1.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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