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Parents: Toddler miraculously survives after drowning in neighbor's pond: 'He was dead'

Matty Cunningham made a miraculous recovery after drowning in a pond close to home. (Courtesy Cunningham family photo).

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Matty Survives

BAKER CITY, Ore., (KBOI) - Twenty-two month old Matty Cunningham had drowned.

His family was certain.

The Baker City, Ore., toddler had wandered off away from family members and ended up in a neighbor's pond last week.

"We don't know how he got there, maybe he was following a dog," his father, Matthew told KBOI 2News. "We lost track of him."

After a frantic search, family members found the little boy in the pond. They pulled the lifeless body out of the water and immediately started CPR. No one's sure how long Matty had been under the water, but the outlook was obvious, even to family.

"He was dead," Matthew said. "He was blue and dead."

But the family didn't stop trying to save him. Soon after calling 911, the county sheriff arrived to the family's six-acre property outside of town.

"When I'm doing compressions, my children were on their knees praying and begging god for a miracle," said Elsa, Matty's mom.

"We just prayed and prayed and prayed," Matthew said.

Matty was taken by the sheriff to St. Alphonsus in Baker City, who managed to beat a train that could have easily delayed the ride to the emergency room.

Vital signs were minimal. Blood work was horrendous.

"They (doctors) did their best, but it wasn't looking good," he said. "They painted the story of a dead child."

The 22-month-old and his mother, Elsa, flew to St. Alphonsus in Boise where the grim story was again being pictured: "They told us his chances were terrible. I could tell by their faces."

"It's always very, very stressful because so often the outcome is so bad," said Dr. Adrian Curnow, a pediatric surgeon at St. Alsphonsus in Boise.

The boy was eventually takes to St. Luke's Children's Hospital in downtown Boise. The boy was heavily sedated, but doctors needed to perform an MRI on the boy to see what kind of brain damage the boy had been dealt with.

"They braced us for the worst," he said. "I was worried that the test results we're going to be really bad."

But the results were normal.

"Through the grace of God, they said his MRI was normal," Matt said. "There wasn't a better word at that point a parent could want to hear."

While the family was in disbelief, doctors at St. Luke's slowly started to lift the sedation. And, soon enough, the boy started coming to life.

"Within a matter of hours, he was acting like himself," his father said. "He was acting like Matty. He was perfect."

On Sunday, the 22-month-old was being just that -- a 22-month-old.

"He was trying to run around in the ICU and they kicked us out," he said with a chuckle.

Family is home now, back at their property outside Baker City. Matty was taking a nap while his father shared his story.

The normally private and religious family knows the word being tossed around after more and more people begin to hear what happened.

And they agree.

"We just fell to our knees and thanked god," Matthew said. "Praising god. You almost wonder if you're going to wake up, it's just a dream that's too good to be true. You're just going wake up from it. My son is dead and now he's alive. It defies any logic. This is just a miracle."

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