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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]
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