An enduring mystery in Azita Milanian’s life was solved Wednesday when she was reunited with 20-year-old Matthew Whitaker, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Two decades ago, Milanian went for a jog in the foothills of Altadena, Calif., with her dogs when one of the dogs started scratching at the dirt. Milanian walked over to the dog and saw something that took her breath away: two tiny feet sticking out from a shallow grave.
Milanian started to dig and found a 7-pound, 12-ounce newborn wrapped in a blanket, his umbilical cord still attached, barely clinging to life. His body temperature was 80º.
She cleared the dirt from his mouth and nose and begged him not to die. "He grabbed my wrist and stopped crying," Milanian told the LA Times in 1998.
Milanian called 911 and flagged down a motorist who got help from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. The baby was nursed back to health at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena and was eventually adopted.
Unbeknownst to Milanian, the baby grew into a strapping young man named Matthew Whitaker. Over the years, Milanian has been haunted by the memory of finding the baby and tried repeatedly to locate him. No luck. But years later, a producer for On Air with Ryan Seacrest heard Whitaker’s story, did some detective work, and reunited them 20 years to the day of the rescue.
When Milanian saw Whitaker, she burst into tears as he hugged her. That day, Milanian drove Whitaker to the hiking trail where she found him.
"This could have been my grave," Whitaker said as he looked out at the trail. To read the complete story, go here.