UPDATED: Mother arrested in drowning death of toddler
by James Leonard | Patterson Irrigator
Jan 15, 2010 | 7648 views | 6 6 comments | 45 45 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jennifer Bigham, 23, struggles while being placed into a Patterson District Ambulance while sheriff's officers, firefighters and paramedics work to subdue her. Elias Funez/Patterson Irrigator
view slideshow (9 images)
Updated 1:50 p.m. Friday

Police arrested a Castro Valley woman early Friday, Jan. 15, on suspicion of killing her 3-year-old daughter in Patterson the night before.

Jennifer Bigham, 23, is suspected of drowning her daughter, Alexandrea, in a bathtub in a home on the 400 block of Thrush Drive, according to Captain Tim David of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department.

The mother was treated at a Modesto hospital for superficial, self-inflicted stab wounds to her chest Thursday night, then was released into custody shortly after midnight on Friday. Bigham was uncooperative with investigators, David said, and was then booked into county jail on suspicion of murder.

Bigham and her daughter, both originally from the Hayward area, were visiting family members in Patterson. The Thrush Drive home where the incident occurred is owned by David Silvey, pastor of the Foursquare Church in Mountain House, and it’s listed as a mailing address for that church on www.foursquarechurch.org.

When contacted by phone Friday, Silvey declined to comment or to verify his relationship to Bigham or Alexandrea.

“I’d appreciate it if you guys would respect our privacy,” Silvey said.

Emergency crews responded to reports around 6 p.m. that the 3-year-old had drowned. Paramedics arrived and administered CPR, and the girl was flown by helicopter to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, according to Deputy Andrew Winter.

Doctors continued to attempt life-saving measures on the girl at the hospital, but she died at 9:50 p.m.

Winter said family members were in the house at the time but were initially unaware of what was happening.

“They weren’t in the bathroom,” he said. “They sensed something was wrong. Eventually they figured out there was a drowning of some sort and immediately called 9-1-1.”

A next-door neighbor, Angel Barradas, said he was taking out his trash when he saw Bigham screaming and yelling in the driveway.

“She just said, ‘Call 9-1-1; I need help,’” Barradas said. “I was just concerned about her baby, her child.”

Winter could not confirm the relationship between Bigham and Silvey, though he said they are not father and daughter. He said it appeared the Silveys had taken in Bigham and her daughter temporarily.

According to a Web site for “The House,” the Mountain House church, David and Tammy Silvey were married in 1984 and have four children of their own. After being active in churches in San Leandro, they moved to the Central Valley and started holding services in Mountain House in 2007.

Sue Roscoe — wife of Tom Roscoe, pastor of the New Home Foursquare Church in Patterson — said she’s known the Silvey family by way of the church for a few years.

“I just know they’re a wonderful family,” she said. “I respect them a lot. I know they love the lord, and I would never expect this kind of problem.”

• Contact James Leonard at 892-6187 or james@pattersonirrigator.com.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
January 21, 2010
in response to doej. dont believe everyting you here on tv. she was not flown by helicopter and she was not taken to the lz. she went directly to the hospital.
January 16, 2010
After receiving a few complaints, we have removed a photo showing Alexandrea Bigham being placed in an ambulance on stretcher from this article. There was an internal discussion among our staff about whether to run the photo. Some were in favor, and some against. In the end, we thought it was something that contributed to the story, and because the photo itself was not graphic in any way, we decided to post it with the rest of the photos. There hasn't exactly been an outpouring of emotion against the photo, but there's enough that it was decided to remove it. We thank you all for your feedback.
January 16, 2010
I agree geejam, posting a picture of the little girl is quite tasteless. That is really bad. In response to bhurd, the girl was transported to a location where the air ambulance could land.
January 15, 2010
This is a truly horrible act. God bless that little baby's soul may she rest in peace.
January 15, 2010
I cannot believe you guys posted pictures of the young girl. I understand you want to report the news, but not even major media outlets show a young victims on television or newspapers. Don't lose you class by showing pictures to get attention, I am very disappointed with article. You are better than that PI!
January 15, 2010
The girl was not flown by helicopter but rather transported by ground ambulance.

We encourage your online comments in this public forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a forum for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Readers may report such inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at news@pattersonirrigator.com.