Mother’s boyfriend charged in 1-year-old boy’s death

John Stewart, Manatee County Sheriff's Office photo

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A 37-year-old man has been charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child in the death of a Manatee County 1-year-old boy.

The little boy, Knowellan Kelly, died in December. Deputies said then he was the victim of child abuse.

On Wednesday, they charged John Stewart in the case. Deputies said Stewart is the boyfriend of Knowellan’s mother. The victim had been living with his mom and Stewart.

Deputies said Knowellan suffered hemorrhaging and swelling to the brain. By the time he was taken to the hospital, his pupils weren’t reactive. Several of his ribs had been fractured.

The boy’s mom, Danake Crawford, said the child had been in the care of her boyfriend on Dec. 11. Crawford told deputies that Stewart called her on Dec. 11 about the young boy having had a seizure. The mom was working, and Stewart sent her Facebook photos and text messages of and about Knowellan. “One of the pictures she received was of Knowellan having an active medical seizure,” deputies said.

The mom told law enforcement the boy had no history of seizures. The mom also said the boy was fine when she left for work that morning.

Later, the boy threw up after having half a bottle of milk, the mom told deputies. He spit up again that night while in his play bed.

The next day, Dec. 12, Knowellan didn’t seem like himself and appeared to be staring into space, Crawford told deputies. “John waved his hand in front of (the boy’s) face, and Knowellan would flinch,” deputies said.

The boy was eventually taken to Manatee Memorial Hospital. Doctors there transferred him to All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg where he later died. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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