Police reports shed light on mother's, boy's past

Antwan Hope found dead inside mother's apartment; Destene Simmons Baker Acted

Destene Simmons (left) and her son Antwon Hope (right)
Destene Simmons (left) and her son Antwon Hope (right)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – There is now insight into what may have led up to the death of 4-year-old Antwan Hope Jr., found dead Monday inside his mother's Coral Springs apartment. It's contained in several police reports obtained by Local 10 from the Broward Sheriff's Office.

The reports, which date back to the spring of 2011, offer dark and disturbing details about the life of a deeply troubled young mother -- and a boy who seemingly never had a chance at life.

In a report taken June 13, 2011, Antwan's grandmother was at her daughter's apartment in Pompano Beach. She told police her daughter, Destene Simmons, took her then 2-year-old son into a bedroom and closed the door. His grandmother later told deputies she heard Antwan crying and saying, "Mommy stop, mommy stop."

In the report, his grandmother said she pushed open the door and "saw Simmons holding a pillow over Antwan's face." She said she then "wrestled with Simmons to get off of Antwan."

Simmons' mother later told detectives her daughter "has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and depression" and "was prescribed medication but that she does not take it."

On another occasion, Antwan's father called BSO when he said an angry Simmons came to his home. She "made verbal threat to harm the child." The report went on to quote the boy's father, saying Antwan's mother "takes medication for mental issues" and "has been Baker Acted on several occasions."

Before leaving, Antwan Sr. said Simmons told him she would "hurt the boy."

Simmons is currently at a state mental hospital after she was Baker Acted on Tuesday. Earlier in the day, she was charged with an outstanding traffic warrant.

The Broward Medical Examiner's Office has reportedly completed its autopsy but has yet to release the official cause of death.