“(We) grabbed our flashlights and we're driving around and we're, like, ‘That doesn't sound like an animal,’” Kayla Ragatz said.
They went back inside their home and told their father they thought they heard a crying baby. Alan Ragatz was skeptical.
“I said, ‘That's got to be impossible. It's a baby raccoon, deer or something,’" he said.
They all went back into the dark woods and traced the sound to a pile of leaves and sticks and a bath mat.
“As we got closer, we realized it was a baby crying,” Kayla Ragatz said.
“We went down, pulled it up. There was a poor little baby wrapped in a plastic bag, and we called 911,” Alan Ragatz said. “She was alive. She was crying, so we figured that was a good sign. Could have been worse. The credit goes to my girls. They were the ones sticking with it.”
The newborn, perhaps an hour old, had her umbilical cord still attached.
"It was terrifying, scary," Kayla Ragatz said. "Panic was going through all our minds. We were all crying."
The Forysth County Sheriff's Office said deputies performed first aid on the infant and rushed her to the hospital. She was listed as stable.
The sheriff thanked the family for rescuing the newborn.
"It is, without doubt, divine intervention that this child was found. If it wasn't for these citizens, we would be having a different conversation," Sheriff Ron Freeman said.
The Sheriff's Office is now trying to identify the baby, who is white, and locate her mother. They are asking anyone who knows a woman in the late stages of pregnancy who could have recently given birth to contact investigators at 770-781-3087.
Georgia has a “safe haven” law, which allows unwanted babies to be dropped off at medical facilities without fear of prosecution. The law only applies to babies up to seven days old. It is not clear how old the baby found in Forsyth County is.
Check back with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for updates.