Remember the Two Children Found Near Winco, One Naked and Wrapped in a Blanket? Meet the Heros Who Helped

Children bathing

Engraving after C. Chisholme. Iconographic Collections

Last August 22, a six-year-old girl wearing a shirt and pajama pants but no shoes and her naked three-year-old brother wrapped in a towel/blanket found their way to Winco at the Eureka Mall about 9 p.m. According to a witness, snagged in the boy’s towel was a hypodermic needle.

Eureka Police spokesperson Brittany Powel said the next day, “Employees said they had removed a needle stuck in the blanket prior to officers arrival.  It is unknown how the needle got in the blanket.”

This last week the citizens who helped received an award from the Eureka Police. The letter acknowledging their heroism tells the tale. It states in part,

On the evening of August 22nd, officers with the Eureka Police Department were sent to a local business where employee Steven Moreno located two young children walking around unattended, not properly clothed and dirty. Moreno was joined by employee Kerra Hogue-Lindow. Together, they recognized and removed drug paraphernalia which was imbedded in one of the children’s blanket. Employee Jamie Peterson, who had finished her shift, sat on the floor and interacted with the children.

Alice Birney Student Services Coordinator Rachel Bass, while shopping, recognized the children and too began interacting with them. She contacted Teacher Alysha Simoni who abruptly left her classroom with Luke Lancaster to bring clothing and food to the children and assist in locating a family member.

Often in law enforcement, it is said there is no more innocent victim than a child. This could not be truer during this incident. During this incident, these citizens showed overwhelming compassion, concern and self-sacrifice. They took positive, voluntary actions to ensure these children were safe and their necessities were met.

According to Chief Steve Watson:

Over the course of three days this week (Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday), it was our pleasure to award several deserving Eureka citizens for their compassion and attentive actions on August 22, 2017 in rescuing, protecting, and nurturing two young children who were found abandoned and neglected outside a local business. During this incident, these citizens each stepped forward and showed great compassion, concern and care for these innocent victims who needed a hero. They got 6: Steven Moreno, Kerra Hogue-Lindow, Jamie Peterson, Rachel Bass, Alysha Simoni, and Luke Lancaster. EPD awards citizens Eureka Police Brian StephensThese deserving individuals were nominated for the award by the appreciative Eureka Police Officers who responded to assist.

From the Valor-Service Award citation:

It is the mission of the Eureka Police Department to “Work in partnership with the community to prevent and reduce crime, to safeguard public trust, improve the quality of life and protect the future of Eureka through dedicated professional service.” EPD is committed to promoting community-oriented policing concepts and positive relations with the public we serve. We further this purpose by acknowledging valued citizens and groups who commit acts of extraordinary kindness or valor, unselfishly give of themselves to help others, or perform other good deeds that go above and beyond the normal courtesies society expects. EPD awards citizens Eureka Police
To this end, we commissioned the minting of a special “challenge coin” to be awarded to deserving individuals who give of themselves in an exceptional manner. This unique full-color coin represents the Eureka Police Department’s cherished values of VALOR, SERVICE, and COMMUNITY and may be displayed proudly. These values are printed on the coin’s face surrounding the Great Seal of the State of California. The reverse side of the coin depicts the emblem found on the Eureka Police Department patch.

As Chief of Police, it is my pleasure to honor and recognize you for your courageous and selfless actions. Please accept with this coin the recognition and thanks of the Eureka Police Department.

EPD awards citizens Eureka Police



  • Some good people out there…

  • That is so awesome!

  • Lovely energy in this story. A good example of how to know, and do the right things. Many people seem to have forgotten that deep down, mankind is capable of knowing right from wrong. Maybe that can become a class in school for K-12, right along with readin’, writing & ‘rithmatic . Something needs to change and become more simply clear to more people. We used to think Peace & Love were really great things to strive for…

  • Atta boy Luke!! Great people! God’s guardians!

  • Heroes for sure! I’m sure we all feel the same, thank you so much all involved! Not enough kind words to write, way to go People!


    Heroin vs Heroism. And a heroine

  • Breaks your heart to see kids like that. God Bless them. Think we could all use more God/Love in ourselves.

  • “There is no more innocent a victim than a child”. Absolutely.

  • I no longer live in Humboldt County but I keep up with things through Redheaded Blackbelt. Thank you, Kym, for covering this story!

    While it breaks my heart to hear of these little ones circumstances… knowing that they were found that night and that six selfless people came to their aid, cared for and comforted them… well, it does my heart good!!

    Thank you, Steven Moreno, Kerra Hogue-Lindow, Jamie Peterson, Rachel Bass, Alysha Simoni and Luke Lancaster for your goodness and your kindness!!! And to EPD, thank you for honoring and recognizing their acts of selflessness! They were angels on earth that night for this little girl and her brother!!

    I so hope that these children’s lives have improved!

  • Was there a pm/am reversal in the press release? Why was the teacher in the classroom at 9pm?

  • groba dude osnt trustafarian

    What happened to the kids? Was the “state of the art” mother relieved of custody?

    I am personally relieved that the Eureka Police Dept has awarded a medal to the rescuers, but I also hope that Humboldt County has placed these children into the permanent care of a responsible person!

  • Way to keep an eye out a little friend in need is a friend indeed !

  • These people did a good job that night but what about the two people that took these kids in That same night? Why don’t they get noticed. They were at winco to that night they answered there phones and got there as fast as they can! They’ve been handling the children everyday since August 22!

  • There are quite a few missing facts in this story. I have personal knowledge of this because my daughter is the one who now has custody of these 2 children. They are the children of her half sister. My daughter is a contributing member of society. She’s not on drugs, not on welfare and is responsible. The kindergarten teacher, who happens to be a personal friend of my family, called my daughter to let her know what was going on and that the children were at winco. This happened around 10 o’clock at night. The teacher was not in the classroom at this time of night obviously. My daughter, who is only 21 years old, has taken custody of these 2 children and is raising them to the best of her ability. She provides them with food and medical care. She provides them with clothing, love and an education. While I do agree the the people involved were very heroic in their actions, let’s not forget those that are left with the aftermath and are trying to pick up the pieces and do the best for these 2 children under the circumstances. I don’t know anyone else, myself included, who, at 21 years old would be able to take on the level of responsibility she has to do what’s right for these children. Let’s not forget ALL of the heroes in this story

    • Chris, it does sound like your daughter is incredible! I admire and respect someone willing to take on the hard work of raising children. Please tell her she’s awesome!


      Good job stepping up to the plate,I had to take my brother’s kid for awhile.Not easy to have kids overnight.

    • Right on! Good for her- best wishes for all of you. I hope there are more everyday heroes around the edges helping out the situation. I also hope the biological mother rehabilitates and pulls herself together, whether she reclaims the children or not. Thank you! Your daughter is a true hero to these kids as are you.

      • I’m no hero, my daughter and her boyfriend are doing a fantastic job with these 2 small children, giving them the life they deserve.

        • Taurus Ballzhoff

          Thanks for the info, I hope the children are well and your daughter has peace, and her half-sister finds her way to being clean and sober. Inpatient rehab at Duffy’s Napa, Singing Trees, St Helena Hospital in St Helena, which takes some pro-bono cases…

          Best wishes to all!

    • The teacher, Alysha, was in her classroom at 9 pm getting ready for school the next day. The following day Alysha babysat the children the entire day as the sister who took in the children had to work. Alysha brought them to our house and we took the children to McDonalds to play/eat as. They were sweet and seemed to be doing well considering.

  • …but what happened to the kids?

  • Great story! But yeah- where are the children now? I only ask because I know how our county lets children remain in terrible conditions….are they still with that biological mother of theirs?

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