Neighbor says mother 'hysterical' over injury
By SUE McCLURE
SPRING HILL -- Charlie Fink sighed heavily as he recalled the day his neighbor, Jennifer Alvey, came up to his door screaming, her 20-month-old daughter in her arms.
"She was just hysterical,'' Fink said, "and desperate.''
Alvey carried Emma Alvey, a Chinese baby she had adopted eight months earlier through Bethany Christian Services in Nashville.
"She said, 'I don't know if she's breathing.' ''
Fink, who has had CPR training, took the child and laid her on the front lawn and dialed 911.
He said the child was breathing, but "her heart rate was very fast.''
It was warm on that midmorning of Oct. 19 and the child was dressed in a diaper set.
Fink tried to open an airway and found the child's teeth were clenched. Then he noticed her arm "was sort of backwards and shaking," and her eyes were rolled back in her head.
"I told Jennifer, 'She's having a seizure,' '' Fink said, and at about that time the medics arrived.
Fink and his wife, Nan, moved into the house across from the Alveys in April, two months after the Alveys brought Emma home from China. The Alveys have lived in their Campbell Station home for two years, Fink said.
"We would see her walking Emma in the neighborhood,'' Nan Fink said. "And we saw her riding her in her little red wagon.''
But Emma had trouble walking, the Finks said.
"Probably because she sat a lot at the orphanage before she came here,'' Charlie Fink said.
Nan Fink recalled a time three weeks before the October incident when Jennifer Alvey told them Emma had fallen down the steps in their house.
"They took her to Williamson Medical Center, and Charlie and I brought over a teddy bear for her,'' Nan Fink said.
Of the Oct. 19 incident that police say killed the baby girl, the Finks say Jennifer Alvey told them Emma had been riding a plastic tricycle while her mother was in the kitchen.
"She heard a thump and saw she'd fallen off the trike," Charlie Fink said. "There was a coffee table right there, but she didn't say anything about her hitting her head on the coffee table."
Spring Hill police allege that Jennifer Alvey shook the child back and forth and struck her head on a coffee table in the Alveys' living room, fracturing the girl's skull.
Emma had been battling a runny nose for several days before the fall off the tricycle, the Finks said, and Jennifer Alvey took her upstairs and laid her down for a nap, "and gave her some Triaminic.''
Later, when her husband, Phillip Alvey, called, Jennifer Alvey took the phone upstairs to her daughter's room, Charlie said. "That's when she couldn't wake her, she dropped the phone and came over here to us.''
Charlie Fink said he and his wife drove the couple to Vanderbilt. When they arrived, Emma was rushed off for a CAT scan and then a neurologist came in and said, "We have a bleed here,'' the neighbor said.
"Well, I was completely blindsided by that. My heart dropped for them and I said a prayer for her.''
The doctor told the Alveys and the Finks that Emma had a blood clot and immense pressure on her brain.
"They wanted to do surgery immediately,'' Charlie Fink said. "And they said, she may not make it and there's the possibility of brain damage. That's when Jennifer completely broke down.''