If you were alive in the 1980s then you probably remember Jessica McClure Morales, better known as “Baby Jessica.” Jessica’s story is pretty incredible: as an 18-month-old, she fell into a well and many didn’t think she would survive. Thankfully, As it turns out, she’s alive and well to this day.
On the morning of Oct. 14, 1987, 18-month-old Jessica was playing with four other children in the backyard of her aunt's, Jamie Moore, home daycare center. The children were under the watch of Jessica’s mother, Cissy. Cissy left briefly to take a phone call, but in that brief moment, disaster ensued…
While she was inside, Cissy heard the kids screaming. She frantically rushed outside to find that Jessica was missing. She soon realized that she had fallen down a well with an opening that was just eight inches in diameter. How she got in there, no one knows for sure to this day.
The well was 22 feet deep and a heavy rock had been placed over the opening to prevent this exact occurrence. “I didn’t know what to do,” said Cissy. “I just ran in and called the police. They were there within three minutes, but it felt like a lifetime.”
It must’ve been an incredibly harrowing feeling, knowing that her child might not make it out alive...
By some miracle, Jessica survived the 22-foot fall and suddenly, her story became the biggest news in the world. Rescuers arrived at the scene and spent an astonishing 58 hours getting her out. In order to keep her spirits up and to make sure that she was still alive, they had her sing songs from Winnie the Pooh.
People sat wide-eyed in their living rooms as the entire ordeal was relayed on live television. The rescue mission took so long because the well was so narrow and went below different layers of rock that were harder than granite. A detective on the scene recalled that Jessica was crying about 80 percent of the time she was trapped in the well, understandably.
The rescue team ended up using a machine that is normally used for planting telephone poles into the ground. They drilled a 30-inch-wide hole right next to the well, and attempted to create a tunnel between the new hole and the well. In the meantime, the team pumped oxygen into the well to ensure that Jessica was still able to breathe properly.
On the evening of Oct. 16, Jessica was finally lifted out of the well by paramedics on live television. Clearly, the story must’ve resonated with a lot of people, as donations came pouring in to help pay for her recovery. The donations ended up totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars, which her family put away in a trust fund.
Unfortunately, being trapped in a well for three days without any food or water did come with a few complications. Jessica had to undergo a total of 15 surgeries over the next few years to treat them. Luckily, however, the donations from selfless people all over the world helped to pay for the medical costs.
Miraculously, Jessica did manage to regain full health after the incident. The only remaining marks she has today are rheumatoid arthritis, a missing toe from gangrene and a scar across her forehead. Pretty impressive for being trapped in a well for three whole days!
At age 31, Jessica has managed to live a very normal life ever since the incident. She was married to her husband, Danny Morales, in 2006 and they have two children together. She now works as a special education teacher’s aide at an elementary school.
Unfortunately, due to the stock market crash of 2008, much of the money in Jessica’s trust fund disappeared, but she still feels grateful to this day. The family spent the remaining money on a modest house with a big backyard for their kids.
“I think it’s amazing that people would come together like that to donate money to a child that was not theirs,” said Jessica. “I appreciate everything they did.”