Family says they plan to take custody of Goodwin's 2 kids
SALEM, Mass. (WHDH) -- A family member of Tanicia Goodwin, who tried to kill her two children and then set their Salem apartment on fire, says that people passed along concerns about her temper to the state, but the state did nothing about it.
Family members also say that the two children, 3-year-old Erica, and 8-year-old Jamal, should not have been in their mother’s care.
“When Tanicia gets angry, she explodes, and she is out of control,” said Wayne Cox, Tanicia Goodwin’s cousin. “I’m angry at Massachusetts right now.”
Wayne Cox says the Massachusetts probate court is to blame for the tragedy involving his 25-year-old cousin, Tanicia Goodwin and her two children. Tanicia Goodwin is accused of slashing their throats and trying to burn them alive in their Salem apartment.
“I stood before the judge and told her on no uncertain terms of Tanicia’s violent nature,” said Wayne Cox.
Wayne Cox says Tanicia Goodwin suffers from depression and schizophrenia. He says he took custody of Jamal in 2007, and planned to take him and Tanicia to Atlanta where he had bought a house. But records show the court granted custody back to Tanicia Goodwin in 2009 when she petitioned, saying:
“I have my GED no and also I have housing…I feel without a doubt my situation is much more stable then [sic] when I relinquished custody of my son.”
Wayne Cox says he had to become the legal guardian of Tanicia Goodwin’s 17-year-old brother, Derek, because they say Tanicia Goodwin abused him when he was younger.
“She would take like, extension cords, wooden bats, and just start beating on me,” said Derek Goodwin.
Another cousin, Deborah Cox, says she supported the decision to give Goodwin a second chance with her children, but she now regrets it.
“I know she had to be somewhere in hell -- deep hell -- to do this,” Deborah Cox said.
A spokesperson for the Massachusetts probate court said the legal standard that applies is whether the parent is unfit at the time of the hearing. She says there were no objections after Tanicia Goodwin was given her children back.
The Department of Children and Families has been involved with Tanicia Goodwin's family over the years, and released a statement on Tuesday saying:
"This incidence of extreme violence has shocked all those who worked to support her and her family. There was nothing during our involvement that indicated the children were in danger," said Cayenne Isaksen, Director of Public Affairs for the Department of Children and Families.
The Department of Children and Families now has custody of Jamal and Erica, but her family members say they plan to file for custody of the children.
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