Posted on 30 March 2010.
The parents of murdered nine-month-old Neveah Jackson are being questioned by police. (Courtesy of NY Daily News)
The familiar sounds of 9-month-old Neveah Jackson playing and making noise in apartment 6B at 521 E. 145th St. in the Bronx could not be heard on Monday afternoon. Her father, Eric Jackson, who had been unable to contain his excitement when he found out he would be a dad, was completely out of sight. Neveah’s 19-year-old mother, Jennifer Brito, who was often seen by neighbors dropping her wide-eyed baby with curly dark brown hair and caramel skin at Jackson’s apartment did not bump into anyone on her way back to her nearby home.
The weekend’s events had changed these three lives forever.
The police responded on Saturday to Neveah Jackson’s Mott Haven home to a call just after 11p.m. of a baby not breathing. After traveling to the sixth-floor flat, they found Neveah unconscious.
Neveah was evacuated by emergency medical services and rushed to Lincoln Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival. She died of skull fractures and brain injuries, medical examiners determined Sunday.
According to the Daily News, Neveah’s father, who hasn’t been charged, told investigators that he had been downloading music on his computer with his daughter on his lap moments before the accident. When he leaned forward, he said, she fell and hit her head on a desk.
Neveah’s family is skeptical about Jackson’s story. On Monday, Jackson’s aunt Darlene, who declined to give her last name, spoke to The Bronx Ink while walking to the apartment Jackson shares with his mother. Darlene was on her way to visit her sister, Jackson’s mother, for the first time since finding out through Channel 12 on television that Neveah had been beaten to death.
“If she fell that wouldn’t have killed her,” Darlene said. “Someone must have bashed her head.”
A medical examiner ruled Neveah’s death homicide.
Darlene who lives in the building next to Jackson, last saw Neveah the day of her death. She desperately wanted to know what had happened.
But no one at the apartment answered Darlene’s frantic knocking Monday afternoon. She stood teary eyed before walking over to the neighbor’s door and knocking.
Joey Cappas, 26, has lived in Jackson’s building at number 6A for the last six years. He doubted that Neveah died the way her father said she did but did not think the man his nephews liked so much was capable of hurting his own daughter.
“I’m surprised what happened — it has to be an accident,” Cappas said standing by his door after opening it for Darlene. “He used to spoil her and would carry her around a lot. He never would be abusive – never.”
Neveah’s father was used to looking after children. Cappas said Jackson had worked for a few years in a company that recruits young people to work with handicapped children. When Jackson stopped working there, he collected unemployment benefits, which helped pay for all the food Cappas recalled that Neveah loved to eat.
Investigators from the 40th Precinct questioned both parents but Neveah’s mother Brito was eventually released.
The investigation continues.