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Man reunit­ed with woman who found him buried alive after birth

A man who was buried alive just hours after his birth 20 years ago was reunit­ed with the Good Samar­i­tan who saved his life.

Matthew Chris­t­ian Whitak­er met his sav­ior, 58-year-old Azi­ta Milan­ian, in an appear­ance on On Air with Ryan Seacrest on Thurs­day.

Milan­ian start­ed to cry as she was led into the room to meet the grown-up baby she found buried in the dirt dur­ing an evening hike in Los Ange­les’ San Gabriel Moun­tains on May 16, 1998.

The two embraced for a minute upon first meet­ing, before Milan­ian was hand­ed a paper tow­el to dry her tears.

Milanian was moved to tears by her reunion with Whitaker, who she found buried along a hiking path in L.A. on her evening run 20 years ago
Milan­ian was moved to tears by her reunion with Whitak­er, who she found buried along a hik­ing path in L.A. on her evening run 20 years ago

I was wait­ing for you. 20 years,’ Milan­ian said on meet­ing Whiteak­er. ‘You’re exact­ly what I’ve imag­ined. I guessed your size, every­thing. Thank you for com­ing into my life, you changed my life. …I knew we were going to con­nect again. The day I met him he con­firmed my faith … God brought us togeth­er for a pur­pose.’

She then told the unlike­ly sto­ry of how she saved Whitak­er’s life, as he patient­ly lis­tened.

Milan­ian said it was lucky that she had found the boy, since a lot of things came up that day and she end­ed up tak­ing her dai­ly hike a lot lat­er than usu­al.

She also decid­ed to run a dif­fer­ent hik­ing path — shak­ing up her rou­tine for the first time in eight years.

I was going to run 20 min­utes and sud­den­ly I felt like I was going to be sick, like some­one was chok­ing me or throw­ing up, and I think it was exact­ly 10 to 15 min­utes before that they were [bury­ing Matthew],’ Milan­ian recalled.

At the end of the run, as she and her three dogs were head­ing back to the car, she says they ran off and start­ed sniff­ing off the trail.

I went there and heard a noise and … Tan­go [the dog] was stand­ing exact­ly over his head and I was say­ing, “Come on, let’s go! What are you look­ing at?” And they wouldn’t move and I’m scream­ing at them and it was a bunch of bush­es and sud­den­ly Christian’s feet came out of the ground in front of my feet,’ she recalls.

She then ran her dogs back to the car and then returned so she could inves­ti­gate fur­ther. She start­ed dig­ging and found the baby boy, with his umbil­i­cal cord still attached, wrapped in a blan­ket and buried in the dirt.

I didn’t even know if it was boy or a girl and he was cry­ing and I brought him out and I dug my nails in his nose and mouth and start­ed tak­ing the dirt out and all I said to you was “Please don’t die. I will nev­er leave you. I love you,“ ‘ an emo­tion­al Milan­ian said.

Milanian is pictured above in a news broadcast at the time. She explained on Thursday that it was lucky she found Whitaker, because she went for her run a lot later in the day, and on a different path than usual 
Milan­ian is pic­tured above in a news broad­cast at the time. She explained on Thurs­day that it was lucky she found Whitak­er, because she went for her run a lot lat­er in the day, and on a dif­fer­ent path than usu­al 
Whitaker is pictured above at the hospital after he was rescued. He was then put up for adoption 
Whitak­er is pic­tured above at the hos­pi­tal after he was res­cued. He was then put up for adop­tion 

Milan­ian says she took the baby back to her car where she called 911, but she says she was put on hold before she could even say any­thing. She then flagged down anoth­er dri­ver to help her, and asked him to call 911 as well.

For some rea­son, oper­a­tors thought that the boy was already dead so it took 30 min­utes until emer­gency crews showed up at the scene. Luck­i­ly, Whitak­er was a fight­er.

He grabbed my wrist like this and he wouldn’t let go. … He was so strong. He was so strong-willed. We are both Tau­rus­es — stub­born,’ Milan­ian said. ‘Nobody can get rid of us!’

After being tak­en to the hos­pi­tal, he was nursed back to health and even­tu­al­ly put up for adop­tion.

Milan­ian said she would have adopt­ed Whitak­er her­self, but she did­n’t know why he end­ed up buried, and did­n’t want to put him at risk liv­ing with her, since her name had been in all the news sto­ries about his dis­cov­ery.

Whitak­er says he only found out about he was put up for adop­tion a year ago.

I was in the car with my god­mom and she was like, “Has any­one ever told you the true sto­ry of how you were found?” And I was like, “No” and she was like, “Leg­end has it …” and then she told me the sto­ry and I was just in awe and then I went home and did research and then I start­ed telling every­one because I felt so cool that I sur­vived the impos­si­ble,’ he said.

Whitak­er is now a junior at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ari­zona, major­ing in jour­nal­ism, and hopes to be an enter­tain­ment lawyer one day.

He extend­ed an invi­ta­tion to Milan­ian to attend his grad­u­a­tion next year, and hopes that they will remain close going for­ward.

Well I always want to keep in con­tact with her… She’ll be like my fifth mom!’ Whitak­er said.

Find­ing Whitak­er had a last­ing impact on Mila­ni­an’s life, and she has con­tin­ued to work with char­i­ties to help chil­dren in need. She is also the founder of Tosca, a busi­ness that makes cus­tom out­fits for ball­room dancers.

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