In Florida, a 30-year-old father was arrested for allegedly killing his 2-month-old daughter by forcefully shoving a baby wipe down her throat, causing her to choke to death. Joseph Troy Napier was taken into custody on Thursday. He has recently been charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child in connection with the 2021 death of Iris Napier.
According to a press release facilitated by the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, emergency responders were called to a home in Vero Beach on May 28, 2021, after receiving a report of an unresponsive 2-month-old girl. Upon arrival, first responders found Napier, the baby’s father, and immediately took over CPR efforts while rushing the child to an ambulance. Tragically, the infant had no heart activity when she arrived at the hospital and was pronounced dead.
During the preliminary investigation, Napier claimed that the baby had choked and he could see a small white object in the back of her mouth. He stated that he had left the child unattended on a couch with her 18-month-old sibling for approximately 10 minutes. However, detectives later discovered that Napier had spent around 30 minutes on his cell phone, making his timeline inaccurate.
Emergency room doctors discovered a baby wipe lodged deep in Iris’ throat during their attempts to save her life. They determined that the wipe was so far down her throat that it would have been impossible for the infant to have swallowed it on her own. Additionally, several doctors stated that an infant of that age lacks the motor functions to consume such an object.
An autopsy confirmed that Iris’ cause of death was asphyxia due to an obstruction of the airway caused by a foreign object. The manner of death was listed as “unknown.” Detectives interviewed Iris’ grandfather, who lived in the same home, and he reported an incident where he found Napier standing over the baby and yelling at her less than an hour before the 911 call was made.
The victim’s pediatrician expressed her belief that Iris could not have inhaled the entire baby wipe on her own and stated that it would have required someone to place it there. Napier suggested multiple times during interviews that Iris’ 18-month-old sibling could have been responsible, claiming that the child often tried to put things in her sister’s mouth. However, investigators concluded that it would have been physically impossible for the sibling to have inserted the wipe into Iris’ throat.
Sheriff Eric Flowers stated during a press conference that the forensic team had disproven Napier’s claims and confirmed that only an adult could have forced the wipe into the infant’s mouth and down her throat. The motive behind the father’s actions remains unclear.