Updated: May 22, 2014
FORSYTH, Ga. —
First responders reported 5-year-old Heaven Woods wasn’t breathing when they found her Tuesday morning.
They arrived at the Forsyth home on Brookwood Drive after someone called 911. The child died a short time later in the hospital.
Forsyth police and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office immediately began investigating what happened to Heaven, with the help of the GBI.
“So far what we’ve learned from the autopsy is the death was the result of blunt force trauma to the abdomen and it has been ruled a homicide,” said GBI spokesperson Sherry Lang.
The child’s body was examined at the state crime lab. Lang said the medical examiner also discovered the child had several other injuries.
“Multiple injuries were discovered, but those injuries were fresh and new. Some were old injuries that had healed,” Lang said.
Police arrested Heaven’s mother Amanda Hendrickson, 33, and boyfriend Roderick Buckner, 34. Police charged both with felony child cruelty. Hendrickson also faces a count of making false statements.
The GBI said Hendrickson has a history with the Department of Family and Children Services in Floyd County.
Investigators said that’s where she lived until early May when she moved to Monroe County and moved in with Buckner.
“So possible long term abuse? It appears that the abuse was not something that had just started,” Lang said.
“I can’t even imagine what would make anybody want to hit anybody, let alone a child,” said city of Forsyth mayor John Howard.
Howard lives just a few doors down from the home where Heaven died. He said the investigation has shocked this small community.
“GBI crime scene, we have a whole house marked off here and everything and you don’t see that every day,” Howard said.