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'They needed help': Woman, teen jump into icy pond, rescue 3 children in Arapahoe County

Woman who rescued children identified Monday; child in serious condition
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Posted at 5:50 PM, Jan 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-11 21:15:16-05

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — A woman and a teenage boy didn’t hesitate and jumped into an icy pond in Arapahoe County to rescue three children who fell through the ice Sunday afternoon, the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

One of the victims, a 6-year-old girl, was not breathing when she was pulled out, but first responders performed CPR on the child, who eventually began breathing on her own, the sheriff’s office said.

The girl was transported to Children's Hospital where she was listed in "stable" condition on Monday. She was later transported to Denver Health where she is listed in serious condition but is expected to survive, the sheriff's office said.

Four children between the ages of 6 and 8 years of age were playing on an icy pond at 9100 E. Florida Ave. when three of the children fell through the ice.

It happened around 3:30 p.m. The pond is located in the middle of an apartment complex, The Addison at Cherry Creek apartments, at the Florida Avenue address in unincorporated Arapahoe County.

Arapahoe County deputies and South Metro Fire Rescue responded to find all three children were out of the water after being rescued by the two bystanders. The woman was identified Monday as 23-year-old Dusti Talavera.

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Dusti Talavera, alongside Arapahoe County deputies and South Metro rescue crews, speaks during a press conference Monday.

The sheriff's office said Talavera jumped into the pond and pulled two children out of the water, a 4-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy, but she struggled to pull the 6-year-old girl out of the water. That's when the 16-year-old boy, who is a relative of the victim, jumped in the frigid pond and helped pull the girl out.

“I was looking out my window and saw a couple of kids walking on the ice pond. A few seconds later, I saw them fall in,” said Talavera during a press conference Monday. “Instinct was to go outside and help them.”

Deputies and rescue crews from South Metro Fire Rescue assisted in life-saving CPR on the third child. Deputy David Rodriguez removed the girl's coat and immediately began chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Also assisting in life-saving CPR were Deputy Blaine Moulton and Deputy Justin Dillard. This continued until South Metro arrived at took-over life-saving measures.

Authorities released body-cam footage of rescue crews performing CPR on the child. The videos can be viewed on YouTube hereand here. [Warning: the videos may be disturbing to some viewers]

“I have four boys. What [Dusti] did was amazing,” said Cory Sudden with South Metro Fire Rescue. “We were back at the fire station talking about how brave she was, how great the officers did. And gosh, I hope if this happened to one of mine, somebody like her was close by.”

In speaking to Talavera, she told deputies, "she wasn't concerned for her safety because they were babies and they needed help."

“I just kind of put some shoes on and ran out. Nobody was really outside, so I mean, it was me. I just knew it was me that had to do it,” said Talavera.

Authorities estimate the 6-year-old girl was underwater for just under a few minutes. During Monday's press conference, they all wished her a speedy recovery.

The investigation does not warrant any criminal charges at this time, the sheriff's office said.

South Metro Fire Rescue urged residents to be careful around iced-over bodies of water. They said Colorado's up-and-down winter temperatures create deceptive conditions on ponds and lakes, making the ice look solid, but in reality, it's more than likely able to crack very easily.

The pond where the children fell in is around 15 feet deep, South Metro said.