Before near tragedy caused their lives to intersect Tuesday, Linda McMahan and Mark Grissom were sharing a common pain.
McMahan, 35, who works in the medical field, and Grissom, 43, a corporal with the Hobart Police Department, both couldn't shake the news they heard earlier that day about a brother and sister in Portage that were struck by a train.
"It was on my mind as the call came out," Grissom recalled. "'Two-year-old. Full arrest.'"
First responders were dispatched to McMahan's Hobart home at 2:02 p.m., just before Grissom's shift was set to end.
Her 2-year-old son, Elijah Dugger, was having a seizure.
Elijah has autism and sensory processing disorder.
Minutes earlier, she had gotten Elijah down for a nap and made one of her daughters a grilled cheese sandwich.
She then took to her computer and was reading aloud to a friend an updated online news story about Caleb, 3, and Ellie Wilson, 2, who were struck by an eastbound freight train about 9:30 a.m. that day near their home in Portage.
Caleb died at the scene. Ellie was in critical condition in a Chicago hospital.
"My heart was breaking for that family and I was upset reading the article when he started having the seizure," McMahan said.
McMahan, who first became certified in CPR when she was 12, was performing the procedure on Elijah while on the phone with 911.
"Out of the corner of my eye I saw flashing lights and thought it was the ambulance," McMahan said.
"I couldn't get there fast enough," said Grissom who was at the home less than two minutes after the initial call came out.
McMahan shot out of the house with Elijah in her arms and handed him over to Grissom.
"I kept screaming 'Don't let my baby die!'" McMahan recalled.
The officer removed Elijah's T-shirt in the pouring rain to cool down the boy whose temperature had soared to 103.5 degrees Fahrenheit at that point.
Performing sternum rubs in the short walk from the front yard to his squad car, Grissom placed the boy flat on his trunk and continued to work on him.
"Thirty seconds later, he sat up, grabbed my arm and wouldn't let go," Grissom said.
Grissom deflected credit, placing it instead with McMahan.
"She did most of the work. I just pushed him over the hump."
Grissom, who has two grown daughters, said calls involving children "bring out something different."
"You see so much bad stuff in this job," Grissom said.
It was Grissom who in September 2013 rescued an 83-year-old Valparaiso woman from her car after it careened into Lake George, according to Times archives.
She would die hours later.
Tuesday's positive outcome sticks with Grissom.
"That's what we do the job for," Grissom said. "The good days. Those are the satisfying moments."
On Saturday, Grissom was on a call near McMahan's home when he decided to check on Elijah.
"My son went right to him and gave him a big hug," McMahan said. "He didn't have to go out of his way."
She snapped a photo of the two embracing and took to Facebook to share.
"I know a lot of people have negative things to say about police and that is why I'm making this post," McMahan's Facebook post read in part. "This complete stranger came to our rescue when we needed it the most and this is what he does day in and day out. He came by today to check on us and I just had to show my appreciation to him as well as the EMS, and Hobart police department for doing all they did."
Her Facebook post was shared almost 200 times in just a few hours.
McMahan, a mother of five, said a major lesson that can be taken from Tuesday's incident is that every parent should learn CPR.
"One-hundred percent," McMahan said. "Every parent should know."
ICYMI: Here are the most-read stories from the past week
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***This article has been updated to correct the name of one of the victims incorrectly identified by the Lake County Coroner's Office. ***
GARY — City Councilwoman at-large Ragen Hatcher said she is eyeing an ordinance that decriminalizes marijuana within the city’s limits.
VALPARAISO — Police are investigating a rash of thefts from vehicles, burglaries and thefts of vehicles which occurred early Saturday morning.
Two men — one of them accused last month of raping a woman during a Hammond home invasion — are charged with committing a burglary July 8 at another Hammond home.
PORTAGE — Tina Cheek-Sanchez lived in Woodland Village Mobile Home Park some 15 years ago.
PORTAGE — Caleb Wilson loved trains and his little sister, Ellie, loved her brother.
VALPARAISO — A 38-year-old Portage man faces a felony count of sexual battery based on allegations of repeatedly inappropriately touching a female employee.
THAYER - A Jasper County man was arrested early Sunday morning after allegedly shooting a firearm at a Thayer residence.
Northwest Indiana assessors are telling startled residents their property is worth a lot more than they realized.
This story updates and clarifies previous information from the Porter County Coroner's office that friends of the victim identified him as a resident of Mexico.
VALPARAISO — The 58-year-old Portage woman awoke suddenly during the early morning hours of May 25, 2014, to find a man with his face covered, in her townhouse, a prosecutor told jurors Tuesday afternoon.
VALPARAISO — Porter County government is seeking to take possession of a German shepherd after his owner was charged with a misdemeanor count of animal cruelty.
CROWN POINT — A criminal court judge agreed to increase Elias Costello's bond to its original amount in the case of a woman's videotaped gang rape last month at her Hammond home.
LAPORTE — LaPorte County Councilman John Sullivan entered a Wanatah neighbor’s home without permission, and has done so at the Wanatah fire station and other homes, too, according to an Indiana State Police report.
Porkchop, a Chicago-based chain specializing in barbecue and southern comfort food, didn't last a year at the Southlake Mall in Hobart.
CROWN POINT — Eric L. Yost was sentenced Wednesday to six years in prison for aggravated battery in the death of fellow union member Jacob Oxley during a drunken altercation in 2013 at their union hall.
PORTAGE — A 24-year-old California man was arrested Monday after police found about 30 pounds of marijuana in the vehicle he was driving, according to a news release.
PORTAGE — A 59-year-old Portage man was arrested on a charge of animal neglect after police said they found his dog in such poor physical condition in an outside kennel that the animal was euthanized.
CROWN POINT — A former Lake Central High School teacher accused of using cocaine in her classroom is scheduled to enter a plea agreement Thursday in Lake Criminal Court.
Fresh off performing in front of tens of thousands at Lollapalooza, trap legend Gucci Mane and fellow Atlanta-based rapper T.I. will perform a concert next month at Hammond's Wolf Lake Pavilion, which the city hopes to position as a regional major outdoor concert venue.
A Gary woman charged Tuesday on allegations she attempted to run over a police officer during a traffic stop could face additional charges related to a later pursuit that ended when her car got stuck near railroad tracks, officials said.
EAST CHICAGO — Police detained three Gary men Tuesday after stopping a vehicle linked to a report of shots fired and observing a gun on the driver's seat, an official said.
LONG BEACH — Sometimes people just don't accept "no" for an answer.
CROWN POINT — A 38-year-old man is accused of molesting his girlfriend's daughter on several occasions in East Chicago.
CROWN POINT — A 23-year-old man accused of leaving the remains of a puppy outside the home of his ex-girlfriend's family while awaiting trial on attempted murder charges was denied a new bond.
A woman appeared to have suffered injuries in a rollover crash Friday morning at U.S. 231 and Iowa Street near Crown Point.
CROWN POINT — A 37-year-old man is charged with attempted murder on allegations he stabbed two people this weekend in Gary's Glen Park neighborhood.
CROWN POINT — Sylvia Galvan said Thursday in Lake Criminal Court a mother imagines writing letters to her children congratulating them for graduating or purchasing their first home.
GARY — Three men were wounded in three separate shootings during a seven-hour span Wednesday into Thursday, police said.