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Epiphany cross diver helps save drowning toddler

6:33 PM, Jun 17, 2012   |    comments
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Dimitri Kalogiannis jumped into the water to save a 14-month-old boy from drowning.
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NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. -- Neighbors say it was screaming that alerted them that a 14-month-old boy appeared to be drowning in the canal behind a house at 4506 Floramar Terrace while being held by a 39-year-old man.

Thanks to the quick thinking of one of those neighbors, that little boy is expected to be OK.

"We started seeing the baby bobbing up and down," says 19-year-old Dimitri Kalogiannis. "[The man] was turning the baby slowly, not really keeping it underwater, but not keeping it above water either."

His neighbor called 911. He jumped in, swam to the toddler, and was able to hand him off to a nearby relative.

Kevin Geddes, the man who the Pasco County Sheriff's Office says was holding the child, may have been too drunk to fully realize what he was doing. He faces a charge of child neglect, and his bond was reduced on Sunday morning under the condition that he doesn't drink alcohol.

"Apparently, [Geddes] was twirling the boy around and then he crashed the gates and fell into the canal," says Doug Tobin with the sheriff's office. "We believe he was so impaired that he didn't recognize that the child was actually taking in water."

This isn't Kalogiannis' first time in the spotlight. In 2010, during the annual Epiphany celebration, he was the one to jump in and come out with the coveted cross that is supposed to bring luck for a year.

He is just glad his efforts helped out. "I was just doing something that I thought was right," he says.

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