KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) — Brittany Napier, the woman who was babysitting two-year-old Za’khi Williams when he passed away, was indicted on Thursday.
Napier, 31, had her preliminary hearing in Kanawha County Magistrate Court on July 26. She is due back in court following the indictment on Nov. 27, 2023, at 9 a.m.
Za’khi Williams died on July 11 after he was alone in his playpen when he apparently suffocated against a mattress, Napier previously told 13 News. The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office said Napier told them she had put a queen-sized mattress on top of the playpen while Za’khi was in it.
13 News interviewed Napier two days after Za’khi’s death.
“I hate that this even happened. I can’t take it back and I can’t fix it and I broke a mother,” Napier said. “I completely and utterly destroyed someone that I’ve known my entire life. But it was an accident; I never did anything to that baby.”
Napier faces up to 15 years in prison and a $3,000 fine, the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office said. She is being held in the South Central Regional Jail on a $250,000 bond.
Za’khi’s mother, Caleigh Cheeks, said her son was her everything.
“He loved people. He was a very big people person. It didn’t matter who it was. He would smile at everybody,” Cheeks said.
He had just turned two years old in June. Cheeks said he was silly and a fun child that lit up every room. She said one of her fond memories of his silliness is that he loved Domino’s Pizza.
He got his middle name after his mom’s grandpa, and his mom said Za’khi made a huge impact on his grandma’s life after his namesake’s death.
“She lost my grandpa too,” Cheeks said about her grandma. “Za’khi was like her light. He was a light for everybody because it was a hard passing with my grandpa. He helped everybody get through that.”
Other family members and close friends also said Za’khi made a tremendous impact on their lives. Emma Woods, Cheeks’ best friend, said Za’khi was close to her young daughter. She said from a mother’s perspective, it is difficult to watch her best friend lose her child.
“He just turned two. He had a whole life in front of him. Him and Sophie were best friends. They hung out all the time and laughed and screamed together,” Woods said.