A woman, under the influence of drugs, left her infant daughter alone in the woods of southern Lancaster County for more than three hours on Monday, according to Pennsylvania State Police.
Angela Lynne Benedict, 33, of New Providence, was incoherent and unable to give police much information about her 17-month-old daughter's whereabouts in the woods of Providence Township, police said.
Providence Township is about 2 miles south of Willow Street near the village of Buck. It's largely rural and agricultural, with pockets of densely wooded areas.
Benedict was seen going into the woods with the baby over her shoulder around 4 p.m. and when she came out of the woods, around 9 p.m., she didn’t have her daughter anymore, according to an affidavit.
A neighbor called police, which led to the search.
"My kids said they couldn't understand her. Like, she was just babbling," neighbor Patricia Murphy told WGAL.
Around 12:34 a.m., a firefighter heard a child crying and found the 17-month-old in 1 inch of water in a drainage ditch within 50 feet of a retention pond, according to police.
The girl was “wearing only socks in shallow water” and had minor cuts, scrapes and bug bites, police said.
The child's father talked to WGAL, but was not identified by name.
"I literally ran through the woods. I didn't care. No lights. No nothing. And I ran right to the police officer who (had) her," he told the station, while holding the child. "... Thank you so much for finding my little girl."
Benedict was charged with endangering the welfare of children. She was being held at Lancaster County Prison, unable to post $3,000 bail.