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Girl's Flu Delays Visit by Mother in Beating Case

September 25, 2002|From Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A woman arrested after she was caught on videotape beating her 4-year-old daughter could not meet with the girl Tuesday because the child was sick, officials said.

Madelyne Gorman Toogood was scheduled to have a 90-minute supervised meeting with her daughter Martha, who is in foster care.

Mike Gotsch, an attorney for the state Office of Family and Children, said Toogood would be allowed to see her daughter today if the girl has recovered from the flu.

The case has drawn nationwide attention because Toogood was captured by department store security cameras striking the girl in a sport utility vehicle Sept. 13.

Toogood, 25, has said that she hit her daughter in the head and back and pulled her hair but that she did not punch her. She has pleaded not guilty to felony battery of a child, although her attorney says there is no way to defend the actions captured on the videotape.

Toogood, who also has two young sons, remains free on a $5,000 bond. If convicted, she faces up to three years in prison. She is seeking to have Martha placed in the care of a relative while she tries to regain permanent custody.

A doctor examined the girl at Toogood's request in Bay Head, N.J., before she turned herself in over the weekend, officials said. They said the doctor, Jack Haberman, found no medical problems and no long-term signs of abuse.

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