APBNews.com, May 10, 1999

Mom Charged with Baseball Bat Killing of Daughter
By Todd Venezia

ORLANDO, Fla. (APBNews.com) -- A 36-year-old woman was booked into the county jail on murder charges this Mother's Day after she allegedly beat her 8-year-old daughter to death for wetting her pants, police said.

Anita Ann Simmons, a reputed crack addict, is accused of using an aluminum baseball bat to pulverize young Casulan Nicole Glover's head and shoulders at about 10 a.m. Saturday.

Police said that after battering the child, Simmons then waited until 1 a.m. on Sunday, Mother's Day, to call 911 for medical help. By then it was too late.

"The medical examiner said that if she had gotten medical attention right away, she might have survived," said Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Sgt. Bernard Presha.

'Just living that crack life'

Police said that Simmons -- incapable of providing parenting for her eight children, including several born addicted and disabled from the drug -- snapped and beat the girl after she wet her pants.

"She was just living that crack life," Presha said. "She didn't have birth control, just crack."

After the attack, Simmons only called authorities when live-in boyfriend, 31-year-old Darryl Thomas, came home late Saturday and found the girl unconscious, police said.

Simmons, who conceived her eight children with five men, is now being held without bail on charges of second-degree murder. Thomas was not charged.

Six of her other seven children are now being cared for by relatives or under state care, police said. Police said that the seventh surviving child, a 17-year-old, is in jail.

Other beatings over weekend

The killing took on added controversial overtones over the weekend when police revealed that Florida social service agencies had, at one point, taken Casulan away from Simmons, but sometime in the past few years had allowed the child to return.

Her death marked the second severe beating in as many days of children who had been returned to troubled households after state intervention.

On Friday, a 4-year-old boy was savagely beaten by his stepfather and left in critical condition just three weeks after being returned to the home by a judge, police said.

Children's services under attack

This Mother's Day weekend series of attacks had the state Department of Children and Families (DCF) probing its procedures to determine if anything went wrong in its handling of the cases.

"Were trying to find out where or if the department's communications broke down," said spokeswoman Lisa Hutcheson. "We're conducting a preliminary review to see if the judges in the case were given all the information they needed before ruling on these cases."

In the first attack, 28-year-old Antonio Gaines of Apopka is accused of beating his 4-year-old stepson. Gaines allegedly told police the boy fell in a park, but police have filed aggravated assault charges against Gaines, who is being held in the county jail on no bail.

The boy had only been returned to the family three weeks ago after a judge ruled the household was safe. Gaines and his wife had lost the boy and two other children after Gaines was accused of aggravated child abuse by Orlando authorities in 1996.

Apopka Officer Ken Letourneau said the judge found that the child could be returned because the abuse was not directed at him.

In the Casulan Glover case, officials said she was taken from her mother in 1991 because of an allegation of neglect. Simmons entered drug treatment and got the child back in 1994, DCF spokeswoman Yvonne Vassel said.

Since then, there have been two reports that Simmons was again neglecting the child, Vassel said. One in 1996 was determined to be unfounded, she said. An allegation of child abuse in 1998 was never resolved and DCF is investigating why no action was taken after that, Vassel said.

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