Report: Mother of dead boy had tried to smother him
CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. (WSVN) -- The mother of the little boy whose deceased body was found inside her Coral Springs apartment had a troubled relationship with her son, authorities said.
While police are investigating the death of 4-year-old Antwon Hope, Destene Simmons, 23, appeared before a judge Tuesday morning on unrelated charges after Coral Springs Police questioned and arrested her on a warrant for driving with a suspended license.
Tuesday evening, Simmons bonded out of jail. And, according to the Broward Sheriff's Office, Simmons was baker-acted after she bonded out.
Police found Antwon's body after someone made several 911 calls and hung up. "She did hang up on a 911 call," said Coral Springs Police Lt. Joe McHugh. "However, we were able to track it here to this location, and that's where we discovered the 4-year-old deceased."
Family members said Antwon finished preschool last week, where he received a medal. "He said, 'Hi, Grandma Chere.' I said, "Hey, baby,'" said Sharon Walker, the boy's grandmother, as she described the last time she spoke to her grandson on the phone. "He said, 'Grandma Chere, I want to come where you're at.' I said, 'Grandma is not there now, but I'll be there next month.' Now I can't see him. I can't see him," she continued as she broke down in tears.
Published reports said Simmons had displayed abusive behavior towards her son in the past and had lost custody of him. In addition, the report stated Simmons attempted to suffocate the boy with a pillow last year, but had recently been allowed unsupervised visits.
Antwon's grandmother corroborated the report's findings. "Well, she tried to smother him before," said Moore. She also pointed the finger at the Department of Children and Families for allowing Simmons unsupervised access to her son. "They had no right, and nobody checked on my grandbaby," she said. "Nobody checked none. Nobody called him to make sure he was OK at night."
Another relative indicated DCF's decision was irresponsible. "If they knew she tried to smother him before, why on Saturday or whenever she had him, didn't DCF call to check on him?" said Trequila Johnson. "Y'all knew her history. Y'all should have called to check on him."
Police said the victim was most definitely with his mother on Monday when he was found dead. The medical examiner returned to Simmons' apartment on Tuesday, where he spent several hours combing for clues. "What he's doing is looking for additional evidence that could assist with his ruling," said McHugh of the medical examiner.
Family members are agonizing over the death of the little one, who would have turned 5 in October. "It just hurts so bad. It hurts me so bad," said the boy's great-grandmother Elverna Moore.
Neighbor Jennifer Hill said, "To face my child and see how heartbroken he is, is awful. It's awful."
Another neighbor said she heard loud bangs coming from that apartment. "It's surprising to me. I hear noises in my house. Bad noise."
Walker said Simmons had mental problems and was incapable of properly caring for Antwon. "She would have never did it, but she was sick," she said. "I blame DCF, because they knew she was sick, and they put him in her care."
Simmons posted bond Tuesday afternoon. On-line records show she checked out of the Broward County Jail around 6:30 p.m.
Police said said the cause of death is still pending, and that it might take days to find an answer.
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