Klamath Falls, Ore. – Nearly 30 years ago, two men found a baby abandoned in the woods outside of Klamath Falls.
It’s safe to say that Ken Leppert believes in miracles.
On December 7th of 1989, Ken Leppert and Ken Murdock made a shocking discovery in an area just west of Klamath Falls – a blanket containing a newborn baby boy, who was more dead than alive.
“He grabbed it, and went like that,” recalls Leppert, of Murdock grabbing the blanket. “And out rolls a brand new baby–frozen–blue.”
The two men radioed for help, and did what they could to keep the baby warm. “He wrapped his sweatshirt around it, and then we jumped back in the truck. Put the baby between us, turned the heater on as high as it would go.”
Nurses say ‘Baby Benjamin’s’ temperature was so low the thermometer wouldn’t register.
“I called them to see how he was,” said Leppert. “And they said, ‘Oh, you’re one of the Kens?’ I said ‘Yeah’. They said, ‘You can come up here and see that baby anytime you want.”
Leppert said the story went statewide, then national, “I told the story 500 times in the next two weeks.”
Baby Benjamin recovered, and was adopted a short time later.
Leppert has stayed in touch with him over the years. “I went to his graduation, high school graduation. I went to his wedding.”
Leppert says ‘Baby Benjamin’ is now a grown man, 27 years old, with two children.
And Leppert is proud of the man ‘Baby Benjamin’ has become. “Everywhere he goes, it’s like people just kind of fall in love with him. He’s just such a nice kid, he really is.”
While the discovery was made nearly 30 years ago, Leppert says it still brings back some holiday season memories.
“It does kind of make you believe in Santa Claus, you know?” chuckled Leppert.
Baby Benjamin’s birth mother has never come forward.
Leppert says there’s no question that the adoptive parents are his ‘Mom and Dad’.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970’s. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.Lyle’s job history is quite colorful.
He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90’s as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.
“The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story”.
When he’s not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.