A 65-year-old woman was charged with murder on March 9 after throwing a 5-month-old baby across a room.
Mother Teal Garvin and her husband, Harley, hired distant relative Barbara Kendrick to watch their child so the new parents could return to their jobs in Jacksonville, Florida.
Teal tells People that her child, Cooper Dubovik, wasn't known for crying very much.
"He was always so happy," she says. "Babies get cranky and cry, but Cooper didn’t do it much … He was usually all smiles and laughter. He made everybody so happy. He made us so happy."
However, he had reportedly begun teething and was acting up more than usual. Kendrick was watching the child in the early morning hours of March 7. Irritated by his cries, she threw him across the room, fracturing his skull.
Kendrick, hysterical, ran to next-door neighbor Teresa Spivey and told her that Cooper wasn't breathing, according to First Coast News. Spivey ran next door and found the 5-month-old propped up in a recliner. She allegedly laid him on the floor, told Kendrick to call 911, and began performing CPR.
"I just asked God to walk me through that process. I'd never done that before," said Spivey.
Cooper was rushed to the hospital and died from his injuries a day later. Kendrick then admitted that she threw the baby.
Spivey mentions that Kendrick has lost her temper at Cooper before and had asked for her help to care for the baby.
"If I had known that baby was in harm's way, I would have been singing to the highest mountain ... I had no clue that baby was in harm's way," she said.
People reports that Cooper was Teal's first child, although Harley had an older daughter from a previous marriage. The four of them were planning to move into a new home to raise their family.
"We were all so happy," she says. "Everything was going so well."
Now, as proceedings against Kendrick continue, the Garvins are struggling to get past the tragedy.
"I’m alive; that’s all I can really say," says Teal. "We’re just grieving. Just trying to deal with it."
A GoFundMe page has been set up by a family friend to help cover funeral expenses and hospital bills. As of March 13, it has raised $9,000 of its target goal of $20,000.
"You never think that something like this can happen to you," Teal told People. "It can happen in an instant. Hold onto your babies. I know they can be so frustrating at times, but cherish every single minute of it. I would give anything to hear him cry just one more time."