Tampa mom of toddler knocked unconscious gets conditional bond

TAMPA -- A Tampa mother accused of waiting nearly five hours to get medical attention for her toddler after he was knocked unconscious made her first appearance in a Hillsborough County courtroom today.

Bond was set at $50,000 for Candace Mitchell, 24, who was arrested Sunday night on a charge of aggravated child abuse after her son, 2-year-old Christian Love, was hospitalized with significant brain injuries.However, Hillsborough Circuit Judge Walter Heinrich said that if Mitchell makes bond, she will not be released until after 6 p.m. Police are waiting for a condition update on Christian, who is not expected to survive. If the child dies, Mitchell could face more serious charges.

Heinrich also said Mitchell cannot have any contact with Christian.

According to Tampa police, Mitchell said she left Christian with her boyfriend for about 20 minutes over the weekend and the child fell off a couch. Police say Mitchell admitted she didn't take the child to the hospital right away because she was concerned about a previous child abuse investigation.

The child's father, Messiah Love, said he doesn't believe Mitchell's explanation. He said he notified a Department of Children and Families caseworker last week about abuse concerns when he noticed bruises on his son and nothing was done.

"I told (the caseworker) I don’t want to have to give him back because, next time I see him, he might be hurt or dead," Love said. "A week later, I’m in a hospital."

Christian's prognosis is grim, his aunt said Monday.

“They say within the next 24-hours they don’t believe he’s going to make it," Shatirah Love said. "He’s getting worse."

According to a prosecutor's report cited in court today, Mitchell has been charged three times with driving on a suspended license. The most recent of those charges came last year.

No charges have been filed against Mitchell's boyfriend, whom Bay News 9 is not identifying at this point.