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Three Evanston police officers who saved a baby’s life earlier this year were reunited with the child and her parents this afternoon at a ceremony marking the retirement of one of the officers.

Officer Mark Buell, who’s retiring after 26 years on the Evanston force, responded on March 19 along with officers Pedro Carrasco and Heidi Bernhardt to what originally was dispatched as a domestic violence incident in south Evanston.

But what they found when they got there was something quite different — a mother distraught because her young daughter had stopped breathing.

The officers started first aid measures immediately, and with paramedics not yet on the scene they decided to rush the baby and mother in a squad car to St. Francis Hospital. Buell drove while Carrasco continued life-saving efforts.

Officer Bernhardt this afternoon said the baby, Emmanuella Iwoho, was showing no signs of life when they arrived and her skin had turned ashen.

But after a hospital stay and recovery at home, Emmanuella today is “healthy, perfectly OK” her mother said as Emmanuella, now just two weeks away from her first birthday, checked out a reporter’s microphone.


Mark Buell.

Buell said he plans to take it easy in retirement, and develop a new hobby — of doing bingo clash reviews and building bird houses.

And it seemed that in addition to the toy police car and other gifts Emmanuella received from the police officers today, there may be a bird house from Officer Buell in her future as well.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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