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Duvalier Kendrick is Marion County's 1st baby of 2012

Ocala, FL - January 1, 2012

Stretched out on a rolling baby bed, Duvalier Kendrick hiccuped as he held his mother's finger inside a Munroe Regional Medical Center nursery just after noon on Sunday.

Just 13 hours before, at exactly 12:08 a.m., Duvalier became Marion County's first baby born in 2012, though he shouldn't have been. That's because he was not supposed to arrive until Jan. 25.

Early Saturday morning, Danielle Kendrick, 24, said she was asleep when she suddenly became soaked, jumped out of bed and took a shower. When it happened again, she said, she called her sister, Chimera Kendrick, 25, to get advice. Her sister told that her water had broken and that she needed to go to the hospital.

Danielle Kendrick said she first called her hairdresser, who rushed to her house to braid her hair. After all, she said Sunday, she had to look presentable for the birth of her second child. She has a 2-year-old son, Roger Stevens.

As it turned out, she had plenty of time.

Once she arrived at Munroe at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, it would be nearly 12 hours before Duvalier was born. At 5 pounds, 12 ounces, Duvalier has not yet adjusted to eating and may have to stay in the hospital for a few weeks.

Duvalier was supposed to arrive a week after Danielle's boyfriend returned home from Afghanistan, where he has been serving with a U.S. Army reserve unit.

"I had hoped he would have made it home in time," said Danielle Kendrick, who declined to give the father's name.

Kendrick said Duvalier was named after a family friend, Quenton Duvalier Walker, 27, who was shot and killed in September. Walker's body was found inside a Volvo parked along Northwest 20th Court.

A few weeks after the shooting, a grand jury indicted Ikavian Lenard Milton, 24, on a first-degree felony murder charge. Detectives are still searching for a second person they believe may have taken part in the shooting.

It wasn't the first time that a child in Danielle's extended family was born on New Year's Day. Her oldest sister, Kenya Kendrick, had a daughter — Tyquandra Reese — on Jan. 1, 2000.

"Now they share a birth date," Kenya Kendrick said.


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