The state’s Division of Family and Children Services investigated multiple complaints concerning the care of homicide victim Heaven Woods before her death in May, though officials found no evidence of abuse, DFCS records indicate.
Caseworkers investigated nine separate complaints from March 2009 to the May 20 death of the 5-year-old.
In some of those cases workers made referrals to other agencies or implemented plans, but no substantive proof of improper behavior by caretakers was found, the report indicates.
Any mark on Heaven seen by caseworkers was reasonably explained, or no mark existed.
The heavily redacted seven-page DFCS report lists no names.
Heaven’s death in Monroe led to the arrest of her mother and the man she lived with.
Amanda Hendrickson, 33, formerly of Rome, and Roderick Buckner, 34, of Forsyth, face murder, aggravated battery and child cruelty charges.
Heaven, who previously lived in Rome, moved in early May to Monroe County with her mother. She was found May 20 unresponsive and not breathing in Buckner’s Forsyth house.
The autopsy report stated Heaven died from blunt force trauma to the abdomen. She also had “multiple other injuries, new and old,” a press release states.
According to the DFCS report:
Floyd County caseworkers first examined abuse allegations in March 2009. Someone claimed Heaven was screaming and crying, had been struck and wasn’t allowed to eat.
Those allegations were denied, and workers found Heaven had no bruises. A safety plan was signed, and it was agreed no one would use physical discipline against Heaven or other children.
Several other investigations followed in Floyd and Bartow counties.
Someone alleged in May 2009 that Heaven had inadequate food, clothing and shelter. Bartow officials stated those allegations had been addressed in Floyd.
A November 2010 allegation claimed Heaven didn’t have appropriate food, clothing and shelter. A referral was made to two agencies.
A January 2011 claim states Heaven was dirty and was without proper food. It also alleges someone was having sex in front of her.
Officials found no bruises or scars on Heaven. The people denied having sex in front of Heaven, who seemed well fed and healthy. A referral was then made for childcare.
The next complaint came in May 2011. The report states there was “no maltreatment alleged.”
Someone in October 2011 alleged abuse, but provided no specifics. That person hadn’t seen Heaven in a year, and workers had no first-hand knowledge of abuse.
A September 2012 allegation of Heaven having bruises was unsubstantiated. It was followed by a November 2012 complaint of abuse at a daycare.
“No evidence was found to suggest any abuse was happening at the daycare,” the report states. “The allegations were unsubstantiated and the case was closed.”
The final complaint came about three weeks before Heaven’s death. Someone claimed Heaven was kicked in the back as she walked down the street.
Officials visited Heaven’s home and found no marks on her back. She also denied being hit and had no fear of the officials.
That investigation was still open when Heaven died.