New Jersey officer finds missing man with special needs shoeless in snowy park

PARAMUS, New Jersey (WABC) -- A police officer in New Jersey is being hailed as a hero after he saved the life of a man with special needs who was found lying in the snow with no shoes.

Paramus police Detective Lt. John Devine's keen eye and compassionate heart led to the discovery of the man huddled in a wooded area of snow-covered Van Saun Park.

Devine was part of search team looking for the missing 42-year-old man around 6 a.m., with temperatures in the teens.

"I noticed back over there in the tree area, something black behind the tree, it was like curled up in a ball on the ground," he said. "So I went up, and he was wearing socks and they were soaking wet, and sweatpants were soaking wet, and he was shaking uncontrollably."

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To complicate matters, the man did not speak English.

"I went up with my badge and was like, 'Police, police, I'm here to help,'" he said. "And he just looked at me and put his hands out like, 'Help me out.'"

Devine carried him over a stream and up a slippery hill, finally arriving at his patrol car before rushing the man to the hospital because of possible hypothermia.

"Three hours in the snow in a pair of socks," he said. "No gloves, his hands were purple and blue."

He was apparently wearing flip-flops when he left home. He is known to walk in the park but this time became disoriented and was lost.

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But thanks to this Paramus police officer, the victim is now home safe with his family after recovering in the hospital.

"If something seems makes you look twice, you better check it out," Devine said.

It's just another example of officers going above and beyond to protect and serve.

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