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1-year-old rescued after days beside Louisiana highway after Beryl

A 1-year-old boy was found crawling in a roadside ditch on a Louisiana interstate after surviving for two days in adverse weather, officials said.

The baby was discovered by a trucker on Interstate 10 on Tuesday, a day after his 4-year-old brother was found dead in a nearby body of water in southwestern Louisiana, close to the Texas border, the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office said.

The child’s mother was arrested hundreds of miles away in Meridian, Miss., and charged with failure to report a missing child, the sheriff’s office said. It identified the mother as Aaliya Jack, 25, but did not release the children’s names.

Officials are still investigating the events that led to the boys’ discoveries, and a coroner was still assessing the 4-year-old’s cause of death, officials said. Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Gary “Stitch” Guillory said it was a “miracle” that the baby survived the ordeal.

“It’s amazing that after two days, this 1-year-old kid is crawling around the interstate in a ditch,” Guillory said during a news conference Tuesday. “We refer to him as our miracle baby. It’s a miracle he’s here.”

Between Sunday and Tuesday, the National Weather Service recorded thunderstorms, heavy rain and fog in nearby Lake Charles, as Hurricane Beryl made landfall on Monday on the Texas coast. Beryl, which has since weakened into a tropical depression, triggered an outbreak of tornadoes across northeastern Texas and western Louisiana, caused widespread power cuts and lashed the area with destructive winds.

Guillory said officers first learned of the unfolding tragedy on Monday afternoon, when officers found the body of a 4-year-old boy in a body of water by a rest stop in Vinton, La.

Authorities issued an arrest warrant for Jack on Monday evening, and she was subsequently arrested in Meridian where, Guillory said, she was found at a train station “trying to get out of town,” without the 1-year-old in tow.

On Tuesday morning, a trucker spotted the missing toddler crawling in a ditch beside the eastbound lane of Louisiana’s Interstate 10. Guillory said that he was found in “very good condition,” and had been taken into the care of Louisiana’s Department of Child and Family Services, who took him to a nearby hospital.

“This kid spent two days out in the weather, on the side of the highway. Thank god that trucker seen him,” Guillory said. “We’re so thankful for this trucker that seen that baby this morning, and immediately pulled over the side of the road and contacted 911.”

Guillory added that the baby “had quite a few insect bites, but you know what, he was in the ambulance drinking water, sitting up, so he’s in good spirits.”

In an update Thursday morning, Kayla Vincent, a spokeswoman for Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office, said in an email that the 1-year-old was in the custody of child services after being released from hospital, and that the police investigation was ongoing.

In an interview with the Acadiana Advocate, Conswella Jack, Aaliya’s mother and the boysgrandmother, said: “I was so blessed to hear the baby survived but also so hurt because one is now gone.”

She told the local outlet that she had last seen her daughter and grandsons on Saturday, but on Sunday received a text from Aaliya suggesting her daughter was involved in a road accident. “She sent me a picture of a car in some bushes that kind of looked like it was wrecked,” the grandmother said. “I was confused, so I called, called and called, and could not reach her.”

In the Tuesday news briefing, the sheriff said he was “anxiously awaiting” a report from the coroner in Beaumont, Tex., on the 4-year-old child’s cause of death.

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