Brevard Parents Arrested By Sheriff’s Office For Manslaughter After Child’s Death
By Wayne Ivey, Brevard Sheriff // May 24, 2018
charges filed in 8-Month-Old infant's death
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office has arrested 29-year-old, David Williams Chappele Jr and 27-year-old, Jessica Marie Strickland of unincorporated Cocoa, after a Judge issued arrest warrants Wednesday charging them with Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child.
Both suspects were arrested this afternoon and transported to the Brevard County Jail Complex.
The investigation was initiated on September 6, 2017, after deputies responded to a residence on Walnut Street in Cocoa, in reference to an unresponsive 8-month-old infant. The infant was transported and pronounced dead at the hospital later that night.
An autopsy conducted by the Brevard County Medical Examiner determined that the death was caused by an overdose of fentanyl and cocaine.
The investigation revealed that on the night of the incident, Strickland and Chappele placed a mattress on the floor of the living room to co-sleep with the infant in the middle of the bed. Strickland awoke, finding the infant unresponsive and called emergency 911.
It is alleged that Chappele was wearing multiple fentanyl patches, which had been cut in half, where a lethal amount of fentanyl residue was then transferred to the infant. It is also alleged that the infant ingested cocaine as Strickland was using the drug while caring for the infant.
Chappele’s charges are related to allowing the infant to be in direct proximity of a dangerous narcotic that caused the infant’s death.
Strickland is being charged for failing to protect the infant even though she knew the possible danger to the child from the drugs that were being used by both parents.
Anyone with further information in reference to this investigation is asked to please call Agent Wendy Wheeler of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, Homicide Unit at 321-633-8413.
I would like to thank everyone involved in this case for their detailed investigation and presentation to the State Attorney’s Office who approved the arrest warrants today resulting in the Judges authorization for arrest. It truly takes special and dedicated people to investigate and prosecute these types of cases all in an effort to protect our children.
My heart and appreciation goes out to them for all they do each and every day to protect our most precious of citizens, our children!
– Sheriff Wayne Ivey
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