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Police search for woman taped allegedly beating child

video beating
The woman, identified as Madelyne Toogood, is seen allegedly beating her daughter in this surveillance video.

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Indiana police are seeking a woman reportedly caught on surveillance video beating a child. Claudia Wong of WNDU-TV reports (September 19)
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SOUTH BEND, Indiana (CNN) -- Police have appealed to the public for help in finding a woman caught on videotape allegedly beating her daughter in the back of a vehicle.

The reputed attack occurred Friday, when a surveillance camera recorded two women walking with two small children as they departed Kohl's department store in Mishawaka, near the border with Michigan.

The women had attempted to return several items, but were refused and asked to leave, said Maggie Jones, deputy prosecuting attorney for Saint Joseph County.

As the camera tracked them from the store to a 2002 white Toyota Sequoia SUV in the parking lot, one of the women -- identified by police as Madelyne Toogood, who also goes by her maiden name, Madelyne Gorman -- placed her 4-year-old daughter in a rear seat.

The woman, wearing blue jeans and a T-shirt, her blonde hair in a ponytail, looked around the parking lot and then -- for about 25 seconds -- appeared to assault the girl, shaking her and hitting her in the face.

start quoteIt made me sick to think that that child is still with that mother and, quite frankly, if the mother is willing to do that in a public parking lot, what is she doing at home?end quote
-- Deputy prosecutor Maggie Jones

Using the videotape, police traced the vehicle to the woman's family and impounded it.

Jones said family members told her the girl was one of the woman's three children. But the woman's relatives have been "less than cooperative" in helping authorities locate the girl, Jones said.

"Some family members have been shown the videotape and still have not been helpful in the case," Jones said, adding that Gorman will face felony battery charges and her family could face charges as well if they are hiding her.

Mike Samp, assistant chief of the Mishawaka Police Department, said the woman had a minor criminal history, and said she had connections to some addresses in Texas.

Madelyne Toogood, also goes by her maiden name, Madelyne Gorman.
Madelyne Toogood, also goes by her maiden name, Madelyne Gorman.

Police in Lake Worth, Texas, a community just northwest of Fort Worth, have traced the address on Gorman's driver's license to a mail box at E-Z Mail, a mail services business. Another Lake Worth address, which seems to be connected to the suspect's car, is the home of a woman who runs a title-transfer and notary business.

Back in Indiana, Samp said officials want to find the child to get her medical treatment.

"I've been in police work over 20 years, and I've never seen such a horrendous attack on a small child," said Samp.

Samp said the family members told authorities the woman had left the state, but he was not persuaded. "My hunch is that she's still here. That's why we're continuing to pursue this so vigorously."

"We believe that the victim is with the suspect, and the suspect is trying to elude apprehension at this time. So she's being hid out by family members so that she won't face any type of criminal problems," Samp said.

Authorities have asked anyone with information about how to find the woman or the girl to call the Mishawaka police at 574-258-1684.

"It made me sick to think that that child is still with that mother and, quite frankly, if the mother is willing to do that in a public parking lot, what is she doing at home?" Jones asked. "Our immediate concern ... is to locate the child and get the child out of the environment."



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