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Attorney: Videotaped mother to turn herself in

video beating
This portion of the videotape of a woman, identified as Madelyne Gorman Toogood, seems to show her beating her 4-year-old daughter.

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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) -- The woman being sought by police after being caught on videotape apparently beating her 4-year-old daughter will turn herself in to authorities Saturday, her attorney told CNN.

Steven Rosen said Friday that he will accompany Madelyne Gorman Toogood, 26, to South Bend, Indiana, Saturday. Rosen spoke to CNN from Chicago, and said Toogood would arrive in the city Saturday morning and they would then proceed to Indiana.

Rosen said Toogood's daughter, Martha, was not injured.

"Martha is great, she has no bruises, no abrasions, no marks, she's fine, she's been checked out," the attorney said, basing his information on a phone call from the mother.

Police have been searching for Toogood since a surveillance camera videotape aired nationwide Thursday showing her apparently slapping and punching her little girl inside an SUV in a store parking lot. The tape was made last week.

Rosen said his client is panic-stricken and does not want to lose custody of her three children.

"It's not what you think it is, it was a bad moment at a bad time, she shouldn't have done what she did," he said of the taped incident, which apparently shows Toogood hitting the girl for 25 seconds, after first looking around to see if anyone is watching.

Despite the word that Toogood would turn herself in, police are still seeking the public's help in locating the woman and her child.

start quoteWhat happened to that little girl really shocks the conscience, and anybody who would not put finding that little girl before protecting the mother has really lost their soul, in my opinion.end quote
-- Prosecutor Christopher Toth

"Most importantly we want to make sure the little girl is found as soon as possible so we can have her examined by a doctor and we can assure that she is safe and not injured or severely injured," said St. Joseph County Prosecutor Christopher Toth.

"We are trying to arrange for her arrest," Toth said.

Toth said authorities were trying to arrange for Toogood's arrest. He also said he was still disturbed at the reaction of Toogood's extended family in the area.

"We are disappointed by the family's level of cooperation," he said. "What happened to that little girl really shocks the conscience, and anybody who would not put finding that little girl before protecting the mother has really lost their soul, in my opinion."

Since the disturbing videotape of last week's apparent beating was aired nationwide Thursday, more details have emerged about Toogood's past.

Toogood's last known address is in Texas, where she was arrested on March 27 and charged with shoplifting from a Kohl's store in Fort Worth, according to Fort Worth Police Lt. Jesse Hernandez.

A spokeswoman from the Tarrant County district attorney's office said that a warrant was issued for Toogood's arrest when she missed a May 9 court date.

Police said Toogood and her family are "nomads" who travel in search of jobs, and that has made tracking the woman more difficult.

Madelyne Gorman Toogood was charged with shoplifting in Texas; a warrant is out for her arrest because she missed her court date.
Madelyne Gorman Toogood was charged with shoplifting in Texas; a warrant is out for her arrest because she missed her court date.

Mishawaka Police Chief Anthony Hazen said Toogood's sister, identified as Margaret Daley, has been arrested and charged with failing to report child abuse. Daley is also seen in the video, police said.

Maggie Jones, deputy prosecuting attorney for St. Joseph County, said the sister was not cooperating with authorities. Toth said Daley is also charged with felony counts of assisting a criminal.

Battery charges against Toogood were filed Friday, Toth said. If convicted, she would face a maximum of three years in prison.

Hazen said police are "very worried about the child," who appears in the video to receive several blows that "could have caused severe trauma."

The apparent beating occurred last week, when a surveillance camera recorded two women -- identified by police as Toogood and her sister -- walking with two small children as they departed Kohl's department store in Mishawaka, near the state's northern border with Michigan.

The women had attempted to return several items, but were refused and were asked to leave, said Hazen.

"The suspect became angry, and left the store," the chief said. "I believe (store personnel) followed them out through the camera system and witnessed the incident."

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 Toogood -- placed her 4-year-old daughter in a rear seat.

The woman, wearing blue jeans and a T-shirt, her blonde hair gathered in a ponytail, looked around the parking lot and -- for about 25 seconds -- appears to shake the girl and hit her in the face.

"You can see the woman grab one of the girl's ponytails and forcibly shake her," Jones said. "Not even counting all of the blows we saw the woman make, that constitutes battery."

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.

Mishawaka assistant chief Mike Samp told CNN, however, that "a couple" of family members had "expressed a desire to help, and we hope that will pan out."

Authorities also said they had spoken with Toogood's husband, who had not led them to his wife. It was not clear if the two live together.

CNN Correspondent Gary Tuchman contributed to this report.



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