‘Grace of God saved her:’ Community rallies around baby after parents die in wreck

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A sixth-month-old baby girl rescued from a vehicle wreck on Jan. 18 that killed her parents just west of Harrodsburg is healthy and is the focus of an outpouring of love and support in Mercer County, a family friend said.


Emori Jade Sparks was released from the hospital the morning after the wreck and has no significant injuries, family friend Katrina Sexton said. “I feel like it was the grace of God that saved her... somebody was looking over her.”


Emori’s parents, Christa Murphy, 25, and Gregory Sparks, 21, of Harrodsburg, both died when the vehicle they were riding in hit a tree on Mackville Road, the Mercer County Sheriff’s office said in a statement.


Officer David Prather told WLEX-TV that when he arrived at the accident scene he found the baby “somewhat inverted in the backseat in the car seat and was limp and already turning blue.”


Prather said Thursday the baby was hanging upside down and wasn’t breathing.


“We just cut the straps and pulled her out that way. ...to see no movement, no noises until it just seems like as soon as those straps came off. I think both of us can say we have never been so happy to see a baby cry,” Deputy Sean Brown told the television station.


Prather said Brown visited the baby the next afternoon and said, “you would never be able to tell that she had been in a wreck.”


Sexton said people in the community have been inquiring about Emori and making donations to her. The baby’s current living arrangements aren’t being publicly released.


She said that enough baby clothes to fill a dresser had been donated since Tuesday. They’ve received several boxes of diapers, three used car seats, a crib, and toys.


Some initial small monetary donations this week have been used to buy a baby swing, diapers, and formula — enough supplies to fill immediate needs.


People have offered prayers and encouragement on social media, Sexton said, and she’s received phone calls from people who didn’t know the family directly, checking on the baby.


She said the young couple were well-known in Mercer County, “good-natured people, kind-hearted, very well-liked by just about anybody that came in contact with them.” Sparks worked in construction and Murphy in restaurants, their obituaries said.


Sparks’ funeral was Thursday and Murphy’s service was Saturday.


Sexton said donations for Emori, including girl’s clothes 6 months and larger, or other baby items, can be dropped off at Southside Christian Church from 11 to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The Burgin Independent school Family Resource Center is also accepting donations, she said. Donations earmarked for the funerals can be given to Alexander & Royalty Funeral Home.

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