SANTA ANA, Calif. - Twenty-five years ago, a police officer found a baby in a California dumpster. Last week, the baby – now a grown man – got to meet the man who saved him.
Robin Barton shares a bond like no other with retired Santa Ana police officer Michael Buelna.
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"I hoped that someday I would see him again," Buelna said.
The two first met 25 years ago, though Barton was just 4 hours old, in what some would call a miracle encounter. It was Nov. 21, 1989. Buelna was on duty in Santa Ana.
He heard a sound from behind a garbage dumpster.
"It was like a sound of a very low meow, like a cat or something," Buelna said.
He started moving trash around and then made the shocking discovery.
"I noticed the umbilical cord, and he was covered. He still had all the mucus and stuff, and all the trash and gravel was sticking to him. I tried to give him a tiny little bit of breath, and he reacted a little bit," Buelna said.
The baby weighed just 4 pounds, 2 ounces. A sketch of his 19-year-old biological mother – later identified as Serena Diaz – went out. She was later arrested and charged with attempted murder.
"I'm not angry or upset with her, and I forgive her, because she was a young woman in a very compromising position," Barton, who was adopted by an Orange County couple, said.
Recently, Barton and his parents met the officer who rescued him. It was an emotional meeting.
"I had to opportunity to shake his hand and look in his eyes, and say thank you for saving his life," said Daniel Fernandez, Barton's adoptive father.
Barton's biological mother was sentenced to three years in prison for child endangerment and attempted murder.
Barton said he is trying to find her because he says it will help provide some closure to meet her. He also wants to tell her he forgives her.