Girl contacts man who rescued her as a child

Monday, February 18th 2008, 11:05 am
By: News 9

By Doug Warner, NEWS 9

Bill Kotch of Jones, Okla. found himself in the middle of an unbelievable, headline-grabbing event on April 5, 1990. He doesn't know why it happened to him, and he said it's something which he's been haunted by ever since.

On that chilly April morning, Kotch held in his arms a tiny newborn, later known as Baby Girl Doe. He only held her for a few minutes, but he's spent the last 18 years wondering, worrying what happened to that little baby. Today he has his answer.

After spending a lifetime driving big-rigs across America, Kotch was hit with a bombshell on his return trip home.

"Coming home, they called me and told me I was on layoff," Kotch said.

But this bombshell hardly compared to the one that arrived in his mailbox just one day later.

The letter was addressed to him from a person in some town called Gunter, Texas.

"'Dear Mr. Kotch, my name is Bethany Laroche. You don't know me, but you know of me. It has been almost 18 years since we last met. I'd like to thank you for helping to save my life. You see, I was the tiny baby girl you found in the back of your truck, April 5, 1990.' I said, ‘It's a letter from that little baby.' We just couldn't believe it, couldn't believe it."

Nearly 18 years ago, Kotch was driving Interstate 35, pulled off the road for a cat nap by Denny's and says he woke up 30 minutes later to a wakeup call he will never forget.

"I wound the window down, trying to wake up. I heard this noise on the back of my pick-up. First I thought someone left a litter of pups on the back of my truck," Kotch said.

As the front page of the Gainesville, Texas Daily Register details, someone had abandoned a newborn in the bed of Kotch's truck while he slept.

"She had black hair, and she was just moving around in that little dish towel," Kotch said.

Kotch wrapped her up and ran inside Denny's. Within minutes, police and paramedics arrived and Baby Girl Doe was taken away.

"'Since I had your name on my records as the man who's truck I was in, I wanted to write you,'" Kotch read.

"I had always asked my mom who is was, ‘Did someone find me,'" Laroche said.

Baby Girl Doe is now Bethany Laroche, a straight A senior and an animal lover who was taken in and eventually adopted by Patty Laroche and her husband Joe.

"Her life didn't start for us until April 9, but she was born on April 5," Bethany's adoptive mother, Patty Laroche said.

However by the time Bethany was able to write and draw, the questions had begun. Specifically she wanted to know why her birth mom would leave her in a truck.

"She wrote this letter and we were looking at it," Patty said. "We just started telling her how we found out about her and what we knew about the day she was found. It was just a way for her to find somebody and feel like he had some kind of connection with the past."

"My Mom and I were talking and she said, ‘Look at it this way, maybe she couldn't take care of you but leaving you like she did, she wanted to make sure somebody did find you'," Bethany said.

Kotch truly believes there was a reason God made him tired enough to pull off the road and park next to that Gainesville Denny's.

And they're all just as glad God made sure Kotch didn't move over the last 18 years so this letter could reach the one man who could take Bethany to within hours of her birth.

"Mom is like, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?' And I'm like, ‘Yes, yes I want to do this'."

And so Kotch, who just started his new job working on the railroad, could put 18 years of wondering to rest.

"I'm just overwhelmed this happened and heard from this little girl," Kotch said. "The mystery has been solved."

An even more amazing detail to the story is that Kotch's mother was abandoned at birth.

And Bethany became inspired to reach out to Bill after her adoptive sister discovered her biological sister just a couple of months ago.

Kotch's and Bethany's families have talked by phone and plan to meet. NEWS 9 cameras have been invited to capture the meeting.