Police say a Florida father has been arrested after he allegedly choked to death his 2-month old daughter on a baby wipe.
Vero Beach resident Joseph Napier has been charged with manslaughter for the death of his child in 2021. Napier had called the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office on May 28, 2020, to report an unresponsive baby.
Deputies found the baby “turning blue”, and was unresponsive. She died despite the efforts of first responders to save her life.
Napier told the police that he had only left his infant unattended 10 minutes before she choked on an object.
In a Facebook posting, the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office explained that Mr. Napier had told deputies that the infant was choking and he only saw a white object at the back of the child’s mouth. He then provided a timeline and said he had left his 18-month old daughter unattended on a couch for about 10 minutes.
The suspect said he also saw the baby choking, and waited for five minutes before dialing 911. Napier had spent a half-hour on his phone. His recollection was inaccurate.
The authorities also found that the child choked on an embedded baby wipe. They concluded that Napier was the only person who could have placed it there.
The sheriff’s department explained that, “based on the evidence collected and after consulting with medical doctors, we determined that only Joseph Napier could have been present at the time the incident occurred, who could have placed the wipe so deeply in the child’s trachea,” it said.
Napier was booked at the Indian River County Jail with a bond of $750,000. Authorities expressed their hope that the arrest would provide closure.
The sheriff’s department added, “We hope that this arrest will bring some closure to friends and families of the victims.”