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Retired Ind. officer meets infant he rescued 24 years ago, now an officer in the same department

Retired South Bend Police Lt. Gene Eyster knew the boy as “Baby Jesus,” because he was found days before Christmas

By Joanna Putman

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A retired Indiana police lieutenant was shocked to learn that a new recruit at the South Bend Police Department was the same infant he had rescued 24 years prior, FOX News reported.

The child was known affectionately to Gene Eyster and others in the department as “Baby Jesus” after being found in a box days before Christmas by police, according to the report.

“We didn’t want to degrade him by calling him John Doe. Baby Jesus came up,” Eyster said.

His real name is Officer Matthew Hegedus-Stewart, who was sitting next to one of Eyster’s former colleagues when his identity was revealed.

“He said, ‘Well, you’re not going to believe this.’ I said, ‘What?’ He says, ‘He’s sitting next to me,’” Eyster told Fox & Friends Weekend. “I said, ‘Who is?’ [He replied with] ‘Baby Jesus. He’s sitting next to me. He’s my rookie.’ It was surreal.”

“It was a blessing,” Hegedus-Stewart said. “I mean, I wondered my whole life, ‘Hey, who found me? What happened?’ And more or less, it’s a kind of closure for Gene.”

Reflecting on whether his unique rescue influenced his career choice, Hegedus-Stewart mused, “I guess subconsciously, yes, that’s probably why I ended up where I am now.”