VERO BEACH, Fla. (TCD) -- Deputies arrested a 30-year-old man for allegedly choking his infant daughter to death by stuffing a baby wipe down her throat and restricting her airways.
In a statement, the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office said deputies went to Joseph Napier’s house May 28, 2021, after responding to "a call we never want to receive" regarding an unresponsive 2-month-old. The dispatcher guided Napier through CPR while the fire department and deputies made their way to his residence on 6th Avenue in Vero Beach.
When deputies arrived, they found Napier and his daughter, who was "turning blue." The responding deputy performed CPR on the little girl and quickly moved her to an ambulance, but she passed away.
According to the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, Napier told deputies his daughter started choking and he noticed a "small white object in the back of her mouth."
He claimed he left the 2-month-old alone with her 18-month-old sister on a couch for about 10 minutes. He allegedly said when he returned, the infant was "choking and in distress." His timeline of events reportedly stated he waited five minutes before dialing 911, but investigators determined he actually spent 30 minutes on his phone prior to calling.
The statement said a "baby wipe was removed from deep within the infant’s throat" during an exam, which caused her to stop breathing.
The Sheriff’s Office said, "Based on all of the evidence gathered, and in consultation with medical physicians, it was determined that the only person present at the time of the incident that could have placed the wipe that deep in the child’s throat was Joseph Napier."
Following a two-year investigation, Napier was arrested Aug. 24 and booked into the Indian River County Jail on a manslaughter charge. A judge set his bond at $750,000.