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Family speaking out about how toddler ended up crawling near highway

MADISON COUNTY, Ga. – The parents of a toddler found crawling along a Georgia highway say they’re grateful to the Good Samaritan who helped her.

The father of the 15-month-old girl has already been charged with neglect and the mother may be facing charges soon.

“He’s our angel and, you know, we’re thankful to him from the bottom of our hearts,” said Denise Pickens.

That’s how Denise and Timothy Pickens feel about the man who probably saved the life of their 15-month-old daughter, Emily.

They’re grateful to Bryant Collins for finding her wandering on the edge of a busy Madison County highway last Friday, a few hundred yards from their home.

However, they also want to clear their names after Timothy was charged with neglect.

“We did not neglect our children. We were there with them the whole time. We just stepped outside for a few minutes,” said Timothy Pickens.

The Pickens say they were in their backyard while Emily was napping and her 12-year-old brother, James, was supposed to be watching her.

When they found out she was missing, they panicked, searched frantically and called 911.

Timothy admits he pushed a deputy who would not let him be reunited with his daughter.

“My kids are my world and I couldn’t find her and all I wanted to do was hold her, to make sure she was safe and they wouldn’t let me do that and I just went toward her,” he said.

Timothy admits he was out of line but says he does not believe he and his wife should be facing charges.

“She’s with us 24 hours-a-day. She’s never run off before, but we do watch her,” said Denise.