'You are my life, my earth': Dad posts emotional tribute for his daughter, 2, killed in suspected assault
Maya Louise Chappell was airlifted to hospital in Newcastle after emergency services were scrambled to Milton Grove, Shotton Colliery, where they found the toddler in critical condition on Wednesday, September 29. The toddler died on Friday, September 30. The full details about the incident and how Chappell was brutally injured are yet to be revealed.
Her devastated father James took to his Facebook on Friday to pay a heartbreaking tribute to his “little angel”. In the tribute, he wrote, “It breaks my heart to be writing this but sadly my beautiful brave little girl has gained her wings she was too good for this world, and as a reward she’s going to play in the stars."
"I love you so much Maya Louise Chappell, you are my life, my earth and my idol and I’ll always look up to you and love you with all my heart. RIP baby girl. Anyone who would like to pay their respects via social media are more than welcome," his post read.
Chappell's godmother Emma-Louise Hamilton also paid a moving tribute to the little girl. She wrote, "Our beautiful little girl, you have gained your angel wings and you can rest easy now, i can’t even believe I’m writing this, this should never have happened and it hurts so much."
"To be asked to be your god mother today meant the absolute world to me, just like you did you were all so loved by so many people around you, rest in peace angel," she added.
Police are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding Chappell's tragic death. The officials said a man in his 20s was arrested at the scene and questioned on suspicion of assault with intent to cause serious harm. However, the man has been released pending further inquiries.
The tragic death of the toddler has left the close-knit former mining community shocked. Earlier, the residents of Milton Grove said they were praying for the little girl and hoping she would be able to fight back. After the news of her death came out, a mountain of teddies, toys, and balloons was placed outside the residence from where she was airlifted by emergency services.
One card says, ‘RIP May, fly high beautiful baby," while another reads, "Sleep tight Princess." One signed Bev and Colin read, "Rest in peace you beautiful girl. We did not know you, but you have left a hole in all our hearts. Fly high sweetheart."
Durham Constabulary asked the residents of Milton Grove to cooperate with the investigation team and not speculate on any circumstance surrounding Chappell's death. Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Barker said, "We appreciate that friends, family, and neighbors are deeply concerned by this incident, but we ask that the community refrains from speculation over the circumstances or naming of those involved online."
"A police vehicle was deliberately damaged whilst in attendance at the scene, and I'd like to remind the public that obstructing our officers as they carry out their inquiries is not helpful. Please allow us the space to conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances of the incident," he added.
James set up a JustGiving to collect money for the little girl's funeral. The heartbroken father requested neighbors to make the town pink and to wear Maya’s favorite color at her funeral.