Child’s rescue swirls with supernatural commentary

An 18-month old child survives a tragic car crash into a river, a crash that likely instantly killed her mother. She is rescued 14 hours later, alive, still strapped into her car seat. Rescuers then tell the media that they were prompted by an adult female voice that called “Help” from the overturned vehicle. What are we to think of this? Miracle? Guardian angel? Or misinterpretation? The dramatic story has commentators arguing about God and supernatural intervention.

Rescuers Claim Mystery Voice Called to Them to Save Toddler Trapped in Car That Overturned in Utah River

Lily wasn’t moving when rescuers found her, hanging upside down in her mother’s smashed car. It had flipped over into a frigid Utah river half a day before, and the baby was still strapped in her seat.

Lily’s mother, Lynn Jennifer Groesbeck, died in the crash that had landed their car on its roof in the Spanish Fork River. She was 25 years old.


A mystery arose from the rescue: The police officers who entered the water say they heard a voice calling for help.

The mother was dead, but the officers said that they heard an adult’s voice calling to them.

“The four of us heard a distinct voice coming from the car,” Warner told CNN. “To me, it didn’t sound like a child’s voice.”

The voice gave the rescuers a surge of adrenaline needed to push the vehicle upright, he said.

A local heard the crash the night before but could not see anything strange. A fisherman spotted the vehicle. So, this was not an isolated area. Could there have been someone else around? As suggested on Group of Fort, perhaps a homeless woman was there. Or, the story notes that all the rescuers “discussed” the event. Could it be that one heard what he thought was a cry for help (but instead was an echo or other noise misperceived) and the others agreed? Or, shall we assume that after 14 hours, now was the time that God or the guardian angel chose to act? That’s confusing.

The mysterious voice did not actually save the child since rescuers were already on the scene and checking for survivors. What saved this child was the car seat, the person who called emergency services, and the rescuers who got her out. No miracle here.

Tip: Kay Orchison on Group of Fort

  11 comments for “Child’s rescue swirls with supernatural commentary

  1. Lagaya1
    March 11, 2015 at 1:16 PM

    Not surprising. Religious opportunists will exploit any occasion to put a religious spin on any feel-good story. Isn’t it near Easter enough to call it an Easter Miracle?

  2. Perry
    March 11, 2015 at 1:30 PM

    Riversides can be quite noisy, depending on what the water is interacting with as it passes by, rocks, trees, etc. And in that circumstance, the ‘cry’ could have been caused by rushing water interacting with parts of the half submerged car. Also, the rescuers would have been trained and primed to listen for calls for help as part of their job, so perhaps they erred on the side of caution when interpreting the sound as human caused.

  3. Steve Chaput
    March 11, 2015 at 1:51 PM

    Heard this story on the TODAY SHOW and naturally everyone had to chime in on what a ‘miracle’ it was. It seems that anytime someone escapes death or serious injury in any sort of accident it’s a ‘miracle’ to everyone working on television. Wouldn’t it be more of a miracle if everyone in the accident or tragedy walked away without injury rather than one or two? To me the “miracle” is that some of these folks throwing the term around actually have jobs in journalism.

  4. March 11, 2015 at 2:11 PM

    HA! So true.

  5. Richard
    March 11, 2015 at 5:26 PM

    So it was a miracle the child lived (and to be clear I’m happy the child survived) — but what about the mother who died? She didn’t deserve a miracle? Where is HER miracle? And wouldn’t the child be happier with a living mother?

  6. David H
    March 12, 2015 at 12:52 AM

    I was born and raised not far from where this story happened. And from my personal experience, I can say these sort of faith-promoting rumors have a long standing tradition. Most active members of the predominant religion are always on the lookout for divine interventions, personal revelations, and anything that supports their beliefs. Almost every family has some kind of story of a relative that was saved by a vision or a voice. Chance occurrences never seem to happen -always there is some divine purpose.
    These stories are pretty much a dime a dozen throughout the region.

    My comment does not mean I think the men involved are liars. Far from it. They probably sincerely believe they were guided. Its just when you are raised to see and expect miracles, you are very likely to experience one–or assume what you see is one.

  7. Lukas
    March 12, 2015 at 3:24 AM

    After reading this story from a dozen of web-pages it seems to me that they were in a very chaotic situation. The “voice” could been anything and they just interpret it in a miracle way. In the newest link which was posted here on doubtful news is one particular good commentary which makes it hard to swallow that this was a miracle and its from one of the policemen himself:

    “It felt like I could hear someone telling me, ‘I need help,’” DeWitt told CNN affiliate KSL. “It was very surreal, something that I felt like I could hear.”


    What the policeman is actually saying that he is not really sure if he heard it or felt it. Given that it happened in Utah which is one of the most religious communities in the US you will get a miracle:

    “As of 2012, 62.2% of Utahns are counted as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, although only 41.6% of them are active members.[9]”

    Also here:

    “According to results from the 2010 United States Census, Mormons (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) represented 62.1% of Utah’s total population. The Utah county with the lowest percentage of Mormons was Grand County, at 26.5%, while the county with the highest percentage was Morgan County, at 86.1%. In addition, the result for the most populated county, Salt Lake County, was 51.4%.[9]

    According to a Gallup poll, Utah had the 2nd-highest number of people reporting as “Very Religious” in 2011, at 57% (trailing only Mississippi).”


  8. Dubious f
    March 12, 2015 at 5:49 PM

    It’s a test of faith, ask Moses when his raft flipped…

  9. March 12, 2015 at 8:33 PM
  10. Perry
    March 12, 2015 at 8:51 PM

    From that article: “… psychological process called apophenia, which cause people to “hear” distinct sounds and voices in random white noise patterns such as the background static in an audio recording –like hearing a non-ringing doorbell or the telephone while in the shower.”

    This is what I was thinking of when I made the comment above about noisy water rushing by the submerged car. This kind of thing happens to me all the time.

    This is similar to pareidolia.

  11. jerrywayne
    March 13, 2015 at 12:13 AM

    Apparently, journalism “miracle” means a very unlikely fortunate event happens. Religious miracle means something impossible has occurred outside natural causation. People confuse the two uses of the word.

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