Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Father says woman was unfit as a mother

Cynthia M. Calleia, 30, took the baby to the hospital only after the insistence of baby sitters.

Cynthia M. Calleia, 30, took the baby to the hospital only after the insistence of baby sitters.

ST. PETERSBURG — Moses Johnson said he was sad but not surprised when he learned his baby's mother had been jailed on an aggravated manslaughter charge for allegedly neglecting his infant son who died in April.

"Something was really disturbed with her," he said. "To me she was unfit."

Johnson said he had a brief sexual relationship last year with Cynthia Calleia, 30.

Their son, Antoine Powell, Jr., was healthy the last time Johnson saw him this year. After that, he said he kept his distance from Calleia. He said she was promiscuous, mentally unstable and untrustworthy.

Johnson, who is working but has no fixed address, said he fumed at the squalid condition of Calleia's efficiency apartment. The children, he said, were dirty and in diapers for days. One neighbor said she spotted Calleia's 5-year-old boy using the bathroom outside multiple times.

Afraid the two would collide verbally, if not physically, Johnson said he visited rarely.

In March, authorities said Antoine was abused by his 9-year-old sister.

After about a week of insistence by baby sitters, Calleia took Antoine to the hospital March 17. Several of his barely developed bones were fractured.

He died less than a month later. The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide.

"I couldn't go to my kid's funeral because it was too horrific," Johnson said.

Celleia was arrested Tuesday at her room at a downtown hotel near Williams Park and charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child, a first-degree felony with a maximum punishment of 30 years in prison. Prosecutors don't expect to file additional charges.

And it's unlikely her 9-year-old daughter, who records show dropped the boy and dragged him around like a doll, will face any charges, said executive assistant State Attorney Beverly Andringa.

Johnson heard Tuesday that Calleia had been arrested. He said all he has left is memories of his only child and a picture of his ultrasound in his wallet.

"It's a blessing but a curse," he said. "A curse because she took my kid, but a blessing because now we realize how unfit she was as a parent."

Casey Cora can be reached at

Father says woman was unfit as a mother 09/10/08 [Last modified: Monday, September 15, 2008 3:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Comedian and activist Dick Gregory dies at 84


    The comedian Dick Gregory rose to national prominence in the early 1960s as a black satirist whose audacious style of humor was biting, subversive and topical, mostly centered on current events, politics and above all, racial tensions. His trademark was the searing punchline.

    Dick Gregory, a comedian, activist and author, died Saturday. [Tribune News Service, 2011]
  2. Winter Haven police investigating armed robbery at Dollar General


    WINTER HAVEN — Police are investigating an armed robbery Friday night of a Dollar General store on W Lake Ruby Drive.

  3. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  4. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  5. 'Free speech rally' cut short after massive counterprotest


    BOSTON — Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans converged Saturday on downtown Boston in a boisterous repudiation of white nationalism, dwarfing a small group of conservatives who cut short their planned "free speech rally" a week after a gathering of hate groups led to bloodshed in Virginia.

    Thousands of people march against a “free speech rally” planned Saturday in Boston. About 40,000 people were in attendance.