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Rookie police officer has 'surreal' reunion with retired lieutenant who saved his life when he was a baby

Retired police lieutenant Gene Eyster and rookie officer Matthew Hegdus-Stewart described their unexpected reunion on 'Fox & Friends Weekend.'

A retired Indiana police lieutenant got the shock of his life when one of the officers he served with previously alerted him of a new recruit's identity.

"He said, 'Well, you're not going to believe this.' I said, ‘What?’ He says, 'He's sitting next to me,'" Gene Eyster, retired lieutenant from the South Bend Police Department in the Hoosier State, told "Fox & Friends Weekend."

"I said, ‘Who is?’ [He replied with] 'Baby Jesus. He's sitting next to me. He's my rookie,'" he continued. "It was surreal."

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Eyster went on to explain the "Baby Jesus" name given to the unnamed baby was a nod to rescuing him after three students found him in a box just days before Christmas.

"We didn't want to degrade him by calling him John Doe. Baby Jesus came up."

That baby was Matthew Hegdus-Stewart, the now all-grown-up rookie police officer sitting beside Eyster's former colleague 24 years later. After being rescued by the same department he now serves, he received medical care and was taken to Child Protective Services before being put up for adoption.

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"It was a blessing," Hegdus-Stewart said of meeting Eyster. "I mean, I wondered my whole life, ‘Hey, who found me? What happened?’ And more or less, it's a kind of closure for Gene."

"Like he said, for 20-something years, he's wondered what happened to ‘Baby Jesus,’ but here we are. We made it."

Eyster said he had no information about Hegdus-Stewart beyond what transpired that day. 

For Hegdus-Stewart, his information was limited. He said his adoptive parents had access to the police report, but not much beyond it.

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When asked if knowing about the rescue led him into his new line of work, he said the factor wasn't consciously considered, but it could have played an unconscious role in his decision to venture into law enforcement.

"I guess subconsciously, yes, that's probably why I ended up where I am now," he said.

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