Mom of Baby Allegedly Killed by Babysitter in Playpen Speaks Out: 'Cherish Every Single Minute'
"I would give anything to hear him cry just one more time" says Teal Garvin
Cooper Dubovik was a baby who loved to laugh.
“He was always so happy,” his mother, Teal Garvin, tells PEOPLE. “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.”
That’s what makes the 5-month-old’s sudden death unfathomable to his family. Florida police allege that Cooper’s 65-year-old babysitter, Barbara Kendrick, forcefully threw him into his playpen on Tuesday morning, fracturing his skull, because he was being fussy while teething. He died hours later. (She has been charged with murder and has not yet entered a plea.)
“He didn’t deserve to go that way,” says Garvin. “He was so beautiful. He didn’t deserve this.”
While the case against Kendrick proceeds, Cooper’s devastated family is still trying to wrap their minds around the fact that their beloved child is gone.
“My husband woke up last night,” Garvin says. “He had a terrible dream. He could have sworn he heard Cooper crying, and he jumped out of bed and ran into his room. And of course when he got there, Cooper was gone.”
Cooper was Garvin’s first child. Her husband, Harley, had an older daughter. When Garvin became pregnant, the family began searching for a larger home in which to raise their family. “We were all so happy,” says Garvin. “Everything was going so well.”
Now, Garvin feels like she’s in a daze. “I’m alive; that’s all I can really say,” she says. “We’re just grieving. Just trying to deal with it.”
A family friend, Jonathan Daugherty, set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the funeral expenses for the family.
Garvin and her husband, Harley, were at work when Cooper died. They are now taking time off.
Garvin hopes that other people will appreciate the time they have with their children. “You never think that something like this can happen to you,” she says, her voice breaking. “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.”