Screams of laughter from a nearby playground rang through the halls of The Enclave condominiums Monday in East Naples, where neighbors were shocked to learn they won't hear 2-year-old Abigail Napier's jubilant voice ever again.
Todd Allen Akers, 24, was charged with homicide stemming from aggravated child abuse following the death of his live-in girlfriend's daughter, which occurred during the weekend. Akers is being held in the Naples Jail Center without bond. He is scheduled to appear before a judge to hear a formal list of charges against him today.
Akers lived with Abigail and her mother, whose name officials did not release, for about four months. According to neighbors, the trio lived together in an apartment at 1210 Wildwood Lakes Blvd. for about two months.
Collier County Sheriff's Office deputies said Akers called emergency officials at about 7:17 p.m. Friday, and reported Abigail had fallen off the bed and injured her head. Emergency workers said the child suffered multiple skull fractures.
Emergency workers took Abigail to Naples Community Hospital, but upon realizing the child's injuries were life-threatening, they flew her to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg.
Deputies said Abigail died either Saturday night or Sunday in St. Petersburg.
Abigail's mother did not answer the door at her apartment Monday. The couple's telephone number is not in service.
Investigators said Akers admitted to "tossing" Abigail on the floor, and dropping her while he was holding her.
According to police reports, Akers said he and the child were playing with a beach ball, when Abigail lost her balance and fell backward, hitting her head. Akers told deputies he picked the child up, cradling her in his arms, but was unable to stop her from crying. Akers also said Abigail was having trouble breathing.
He then became frustrated with the girl, deputies said, and either tossed or dropped her. Akers said he picked Abigail up again, but she was unconscious, unresponsive and vomiting.
Akers told deputies he has been frustrated with financial and emotional situations. Deputies said Akers knew his actions could cause serious injury, but he continued to abuse Abigail.
Officials said they do not know where Abigail's mother was at the time of the emergency. They said Abigail was in Akers' care.
Tim Isley, who lives next door to the couple, said he never imagined Akers was capable of abuse. After learning of Abigail's death Monday, Isley, 40, was crushed by the news.
"I was really, really shocked," Isley said.
Akers, he said, "comes out here, and has cigarettes in the hallway all the time. Why couldn't he just come out here and do that instead of hurting that little girl?"
Isley said the couple was always quiet, and never introduced themselves to neighbors. The only member of the household Isley ever spoke to was Abigail, who he said always seemed chipper and joyful.
"My wife and I were walking, and the little girl just yelled out, 'How ya doing?'" Isley said. "I was always impressed with her for that."
Deputies said Akers has never been charged with a crime, and they have no records of any violence occurring at the home prior to Friday.