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Mother in videotaped beating says she was upset

| Monday, Sept. 23, 2002

TINLEY PARK, Ill. (AP) — A woman caught on videotape beating her child in a department store parking lot said Sunday she lost her temper because she was having a bad day.

Madelyne Gorman Toogood, 25, told reporters yesterday she hit her 4-year-old daughter, Martha, in the head and back and pulled her hair — but did not punch her.

On a surveillance videotape of the Sept. 13 incident, which has been televised nationally, Toogood appears to make punching motions toward her daughter, who is mostly hidden within the sport utility vehicle.

"Martha didn't deserve what she got," Toogood said. "I just lost my temper."

The girl, Martha Toogood, was placed in foster care when her mother turned herself in to authorities, who said the girl had no visible injuries.

Authorities said Toogood left the Kohl's department store in northern Indiana angry because she was denied a cash refund for two pairs of jeans; she denied that the failed refund attempt was connected to the beating.

Her attorney, Steven Rosen, said he believed the hitting took place because Martha misbehaved in the store, taking toys out of packages and wandering away, prompting store employees to page Toogood twice.

Toogood said she was "horrified" when she saw the videotaped incident herself.

"I was thinking, I look like a monster," Toogood said, crying. "I can't believe I did that to my little 4-year-old girl."

Toogood, who said she is an Irish traveler who currently lives in Mishawaka but moves from place to place looking for work, reiterated her feelings that her daughter should at least be allowed to live with her husband or another family member.

She said she hopes to be reunited with her daughter and that she, her daughter, and her husband, John, plan to start parenting classes.

"Anything that they want us to do, we will do," Toogood said.

Toogood was charged with felony battery to a child, which carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison. She said her two young sons are staying with family.

She is expected to appear in court today in Indiana.

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