Arrest made in child’s death

David Vickers
David Vickers

HOLMES BEACH – updated Oct. 17, 2017 – The wait is over for an Island mother whose young son died while she worked and her then-boyfriend was babysitting.


The ex-boyfriend, David Earl Vickers, 32, is in police custody and charged with second-degree murder and aggravated child abuse.


The child, 17-month-old Luca Sholey, was taken to Blake Medical Center Aug. 21 and later airlifted to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. He was declared brain-dead on Aug. 23 and several of his organs were donated.


When Vickers called authorities, he said Luca was not breathing after he put him down for a nap, according to a police report. Earlier in the evening, Vickers called the mother, Melissa Wolfe, and told her Luca hit his head after his sister, Olivia, accidentally knocked Luca down the stairs. Vickers took a picture of the child and texted it to Wolfe, showing a red spot or bump on his forehead, according to the report.


Holmes Beach Detective Sergeant Brian Hall and members of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office investigated. They found that Luca had been physically abused while in the care of Vickers on several occasions.


A doctor who examined the body said there were signs of past physical abuse including trauma to the inner lip and left eye, a thumb that had possibly been broken, bruising inside the ears that appeared to be a week old and six rib fractures in various stages of healing. The doctor said she believed the cause of death was swelling in the brain.


Before he was arrested, Vickers took Wolfe’s car stereo and Apple laptop computer and pawned them, according to the police report. According to an additional complaint, the stereo was worth $75 new and Vickers got $30 for it. The computer was worth $1,499 new and he got $60 for it.


Vickers is being held on $100,000 bond.