by Anna Giles


SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A Sacramento woman spent Mother’s Day surviving her worst nightmare.

Her six-year-old son, who has autism, escaped home during a party and ended up floating inside a nearby reservoir. By sheer luck, she found him and saved his life just in time.

Carrie Malinoff was driving all over the area near Lake Washington Boulevard, desperately searching for her son Brayden. She was about to go home to talk to police when she decided to drive by a reservoir and saw him floating through a gap in the brush.

“I was frantic of course, screaming at someone that went by, ‘My baby’s in the water!’” Malinoff said. “I think he probably fell. He’s really into water, so I think he might have been trying to go to it and slipped in, kind of like I did.”

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Malinoff said Brayden is low-verbal autistic and very adventurous. He got out of the house when someone accidentally forgot to flip the top safety lock on the front door during a family party. Luckily, Malinoff had a sharp eye and West Sacramento Police Officer Chris Cobb and his partner were nearby.

“We were able to drop our vests and our gun belts and we just jumped in,” Cobb said. “We jumped right in from the bank into the water.”

Cobb, his partner, and Malinoff worked together to pull Brayden through the water. The officers still had their jackets and boots on.

“Another one jumped in with a rope and life jackets and they pulled us to shore and they put a ladder in and pulled us out,” Malinoff said.

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If there was ever the right place to be at the right time, this was it.

“He wouldn’t yell for help. He wouldn’t understand. Even getting him out of the water he didn’t seem to understand the danger,” Malinoff said.

Cobb said he is so grateful things turned out okay.

“When it comes to something like this, it’s kind of like searching for a needle in a haystack, the luck involved I don’t know if it was moms intuition or what,” Cobb said.

Malinoff said her son had just learned how to float a few weeks ago. She urges other parents to invest the time and money in teaching their kids how to swim.

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