BROOKSVILLE — Before Sunday, life for Harry Weber was better than he ever imagined it would be. His waking moments when he wasn't at work were spent adoring the two most important people in his life: his wife, April, and his 6-week-old daughter, Aubrie.
Aubrie, born just a few weeks before the couple's first wedding anniversary, was their first child. In posts to his Facebook page, Harry Weber often referred to her as his "lil monkey."
But what happened on Sunday afternoon shattered all of that. About 1:40 p.m., Weber, 30, got a frantic call from April, 26, at the Popeye's restaurant where he works. She said there was something wrong with Aubrie. He arrived at the home he and his family share with his parents at 22203 Mondon Hill Road, east of Brooksville, to find his wife sobbing about dropping the infant while she was bouncing her on her knee. When he saw his daughter's badly bruised head, he called 911.
The infant was airlifted to St. Joseph's Hospital trauma unit in Tampa. Later, Hernando County sheriff's detectives were told by hospital staff that the infant died at 9:42 p.m. She had been resuscitated three times. Doctors and medical staffers had more to tell: They said Aubrie had skull fractures on the left and right sides of her head and bleeding within her skull, all signs of child abuse.
Hernando sheriff's investigators questioned April Weber and said she admitted to lifting Aubrie by the legs and flinging her onto the bed. The infant bounced off the bed and onto the floor. She stated she again picked Aubrie up above her head and threw her, they said, and this time the infant struck the dresser.
April Weber was arrested early Monday and charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated child abuse.
Speaking at his home Monday, Harry Weber said that he had often seen the frustration and strain of new motherhood in his wife's behavior. Some of it he felt was due to Aubrie being born with a congenital deformity known as "clubfoot." The infant was being treated by doctors who had been placing her foot in series of a corrective casts. He said the treatments often caused his daughter to cry uncontrollably for long periods of time.
"I think she felt that she was to blame for what was wrong with Aubrie," he said.
After seeing her break down in frustration a couple of times, he encouraged her to call him or someone else in the family to come and help her with the infant. "If it gets to be too much, walk away," Weber recalled telling his wife.
He said that the family has been in a state of grief over Aubrie's death. He has not spoken to his wife since her arrest, and said that he feels anger toward her for her actions.
Asked whether he wanted to see his wife punished, he paused for a moment. "I want the justice system to do its job," he said. "I want it to be done for me, Aubrie and my family."
April Weber was being held Monday at the Hernando County Detention Center without bail.
Logan Neill can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1435.