Local News

Mother, boyfriend charged after boy beaten, cut

Posted November 17, 2008
Updated November 18, 2008

— A Stedman woman and her boyfriend have been charged with maiming the woman's son, authorities said Monday.

Tonia Michelle Powers, 35, and her live-in boyfriend, Todd Louis Lanford, 34, were arrested Friday. Lanford was being held Monday in the Cumberland County Detention Center under a $35,000 secure bond, while Powers was released after posting a $25,000 bond.

Lanford is charged with assault on a child under 12 years old, malicious maiming, felony child abuse inflicting serious injury, assault by strangulation and communicating a threat. Powers is charged with aiding and abetting a felony and accessory after the fact.

Powers refused to speak with a WRAL News crew Monday, slamming the door to her house and quickly driving off.

Investigators said they received an anonymous complaint about suspected child abuse after the boy hadn't been seen for days at school or around his neighborhood.

They determined the boy had been punched, kicked and choked. They found that the boy has bruises all over his body, including his forehead, eyes, neck, arms, legs and kidney area, and he had strangle marks on his neck.

"The man picked him up with his hands and choked him until he passed out," said Debbie Tanna, spokeswoman for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities said the boy also suffered a 3-inch cut along his genitals and bruises to his groin and pelvic area. The boy wasn't sexually assaulted, they said.

Neighbor Sherrie Hunt said the boy and his mother moved in a couple of years ago.

"It makes me furious, especially knowing I live next door, you know, because we've always had good neighbors and it's a good neighborhood," Hunt said. "I've heard her cussing at him. My neighbors have heard her cussing at him before, being a little rough with him, but I've never seen her hit him or anything."

The Department of Social Services has assumed custody of the boy, and he will remain there until Cumberland County detectives complete their investigation of the case, authorities said.

"I really don't know what kind of situation she's in to have to treat her son like that, but it's pitiful. I really feel sorry for her, and I hope that she would find God," Hunt said.


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  • TheComposer Nov 20, 2008

    Then by all means, do not try and stir up this firestorm anymore than the media already has. Hopefully, this comment board will soon fade away.

  • renellwk Nov 20, 2008

    Hunt36 , read down about 5, you will see you did say Renellwk accused, and I have never said that I hope The son will get over this in time the sooner the better and I hope he will have justice.

  • hunt36 Nov 20, 2008

    If it seems like it was all directed towards you it was not.I never ment it to sound that way some stuff I was told about. I turly am sorry if I upset anyone but the first 2 kids should never have been brought into this because it was never about them .The story was about the child who was so very wrongly beat and I agree with everyone that someone needs to pay but the one who needs to pay is not getting all the blame.Regardless of what you or anyone else thinks of the mom she was in a bad situation and did not use good judgement which is why she is in the predicament she is in now. I can only say so much without getting into trouble but the guy was very controlling and again I am truly very sorry if I upset anyone I am to tell the truth at this moment only concerened abut the child and his wellbeing because HE is the real victim here.

  • renellwk Nov 19, 2008

    I have never said that ,I only made two comments about this topic, and I will forever stand behind both. I know Tonia's son loves her and I never said that he did not!!! Now you have made me break a promise, not to post anything else but, We both know that God knows the truth, about all things!!!

  • wins18em Nov 19, 2008

    DSS does not return children in their custody to parents. The court (Judge) can return the child at any time. DSS monitors the situation, helps the child, reunification is always the objective unless relieved by the court.

  • hunt36 Nov 19, 2008

    Sorry myra I did not realize that was in the article

  • hunt36 Nov 19, 2008

    Renellwk IS ACCUSING her (Tonia) of killing her father and the guy who was the great father to the child this is incorrect and she should not be doing so how do you MAKE someone have a heartattack? Which by the way is how both of them died so you really need to get off the bottle,get sober,wake-up,and if you are gong to tell something tell the truth. You should not throw stones when you live in a glass house. I apologize for bringing up the first 2 kids dad but since it was brought up and told incorrectly I figured it should be told right.I really did not see the point in bringing him into this situation because it had no relevance and for my paticipation I sincrerly apologize.And as I said in an earlier post leave the dead out of the comments

  • hunt36 Nov 19, 2008

    MYRA SHE is NOT CHARGED with beting the child HE is she just did not follow the correct steps in reporting the incident and I agree with you that it is a big deal and so does the composer but you and everyone else is blaming her for hitting the child but she is not charged for it and by the way how do you know it was a 3 inch cut? I can promise you and everyone else that the kid is being well cared for

  • hunt36 Nov 19, 2008

    AND by the way familyfour I did not have to read the article I saw it for myself

  • hunt36 Nov 19, 2008

    Oh and by the way Myra how do you know whether the kid not feel safe enough to tell his mom or was he protecting her or does anyone know what the guy told him he would do to him? Think of how sick people get by with things and the fear they install in their victims heads