KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The father’s confession at the police station was airless and flat.

He just killed his 6-month-old baby daughter, he told stunned police officers Monday morning. He was sure he had drowned her.

The father said he left his daughter in an icy retention pond on the west side of Greenwood, Missouri, a suburb of about 5,000 people 20 miles southeast of Kansas City.

“There was no emotion whatsoever,” said Greenwood police Lt. Aaron Fordham.

That’s when the Greenwood police chief and another officer sprang into action, rushing out to see if the child could be saved. As it turned out, they played key roles in what Fordham would call “a miracle.”

While Fordham stayed with the man, Police Chief Greg Hallgrimson and Cpl. Tom Calhoun ran to the pond. They arrived to a grim scene: The unconscious body of an infant floating face up – her lungs filled with water – out in the murky pond.

Calhoun waded hard into the thigh-deep water and retrieved the child. She appeared lethargic, her eyes wide and black, her skin a lifeless color. She had mud in her eyes and grass and water in her mouth. They would estimate she’d been in the water more than 10 minutes.

Calhoun rushed her cold body to the bank, cleared the water from her lungs and began CPR.

In moments, Fordham said, the infant breathed again.

“There was absolutely someone watching over that child today,” he said.

Calhoun and Hallgrimson removed the infant’s wet clothes and wrapped her in the chief’s shirt to warm her body. Paramedics soon arrived to take over reviving the child and deliver her to a hospital.

Later Monday, prosecutors charged Jonathon Stephen Zicarelli, 28, with first-degree domestic assault.

According to charging documents, Zicarelli told investigators he had been planning to kill his daughter for more than 24 hours after having “bad thoughts.” He said he wanted to make things easier for his wife. He said he was stressed by the holidays and trying to provide for his family.

He said he walked down to the water three separate times before determining he was capable of sinking the child under the surface. After he did it, he went to the Greenwood Police Department to confess.

In the early afternoon, word came back from the hospital that the infant was stable and her condition was improving. She was in good health, hospital officials told police.

“The news came down through the chain and there was a huge sigh of relief,” Fordham said.

The child was being treated for severe hypothermia. Her temperature when she arrived at the hospital was 87.9 degrees, well below the normal temperature of 98.6 degrees.

It seems unbelievable, said Jimmy Mahnken, 79, who lives beside the retention pond, that such a thing would happen – and that the child would survive.

“It was right there,” he said, standing in his driveway, pointing out across the small pond. “It’s just a crazy world.”

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