NRL News

In 2000, Police Officer Gene Eyster was dispatched to a residence where he found an abandoned newborn baby.

by | May 3, 2024

The rest of the story is either an amazing coincidence or divine intervention

By Dave Andrusko

South Bend, Indiana –Well, if this doesn’t prove truth is stranger than fiction, it’ll do until something even more amazing than what happens to Gene Eyster comes along.

According to CBS’s Steve Hartman, it all started 24 years ago when Eyster, now a retired police lieutenant, was dispatched to a common hallway. There he found, to his utter amazement, “Baby Boy Doe” swaddled in cardboard and blankets.

But Eyster’s involvement did not end when they took the newborn to the safety of a hospital. Hartman tells us, “I went back with a teddy bear,” Eyster said. “Just a symbol to let everyone that walked past know that he was cared about.”

In all the years since, Eyster wondered what happened to the boy (all the records were sealed). “That was until just a few weeks ago, when Eyster got a phone call from a fellow officer, who asked Eyster if remembered the case of the baby left in the carboard box,” Hartman wrote.

“And he (the officer) said, ‘he’s (the baby) sitting next to me, he’s my rookie,'” Eyster recounted.

Matthew Hegedus-Stewart, the baby in the box, was the rookie. Hartman reports that following his recuse, he was placed for adoption. “He always knew he had been left in a box, but only connected the dots to Eyster after joining the department,” Hartman wrote.

Today, Hegedus-Stewart wears the same uniform Eyster did and patrols the same neighborhood.


“Full circle moment,” Hegedus-Stewart said. “That hit home. I can only imagine from his point of view.”


He really can’t imagine. Because what to Hegedus-Stewart may feel like a coincidence, to Eyster feels divined. Their reunion and their new friendship came just a few months after Eyster’s only son, Nick, died unexpectedly at the age of 36.


“So the timing couldn’t have been any better, it helped to fill a void that I’ve had to deal with,” Eyster said.

Hartman ends his touching story this way:

Twenty-four years ago, Eyster was called to be there for a child in need.  Now, the child is set to return the favor.  And whether it’s a coincidence or not, the result is undeniably great police work.

Categories: Abandoned Infants