A Batesville woman has been charged with manslaughter in the December death of her 3-month-old infant.
Rebecca Mae Cox, 29, was formally charged with manslaughter in Independence County Circuit Court on Tuesday, court officials said. She also faces two counts of first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor.
Cox surrendered to Batesville police Tuesday and was being held in the Independence County jail Thursday afternoon in lieu of a $25,000 bond.
According to an affidavit, Batesville police officers responded to Cox’s address at 1501 N. State St. about 8:30 a.m. Dec. 13 after a report of an infant not breathing. Officers were met by the infant’s father, Michael Goodman, 34, who came out the door screaming and crying and said, “My baby is dead.”
Inside the house, officers found Cox on a bed holding 3-month-old Elijah Michael Goodman and crying, the affidavit said. An officer began administering CPR to the child until emergency medical personnel arrived and transported the infant to White River Medical Center in Batesville, where the boy was pronounced dead.
Elijah Goodman’s body was sent to the state Crime Laboratory for an autopsy.
The state Crime Laboratory returned its autopsy Jan. 13, labeling the cause and manner of death of the 3-month-old “undetermined.” The autopsy report noted that the case was complicated by several factors, including health issues with the infant, the behavior of the parents and the “possible unsuitability of the home,” the affidavit said.
Batesville police investigator Kyle Williford came to the house after being contacted by officers Dec. 13, the affidavit said.
Williford entered what he described as a “cluttered” house with “numerous alive and dead roaches on the kitchen floor.” In the bedroom, Williford saw dirty clothes on the floor, along with old food lying on the floor beside the crib, according to the affidavit. Inside the crib was the dead baby’s twin brother, Keegan, who was lying on his back and sleeping.
About 9 p.m. Dec. 13, Williford was contacted by an Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division investigator who forwarded an anonymous report regarding the infant’s death. According to the report, Cox “admitted that she was high on methamphetamine and did not know what happened.”
The report said after Elijah was pronounced dead and the family returned to the house, Cox was holding Keegan and making statements such as, “How could God take the child I don’t resent and leave the one I do.”
The state police investigator tried talking with Goodman and Cox the night of Dec. 13, but both were asleep and couldn’t be awakened, the affidavit states.
When visiting the house, the investigator was met by two people who said they didn’t live there but were homeless and sometimes stayed at the house.
Keegan stayed at the house of Mark Goodman, Michael Goodman’s brother, on the night of Dec 13. Mark Goodman told the investigator that his brother and Cox used drugs “regularly,” according to the affidavit.
After an investigation by the state police’s Crimes Against Children Division and the state’s Children and Family Services Division, Keegan was taken into the custody by the agency.
On Dec. 14, a different Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division investigator met with Michael Goodman and Cox.
“Rebecca admitted to [the investigator] of using methamphetamine daily for the past three weeks and … to last using methamphetamine” either Dec. 12 or the morning of Dec. 13, according to the affidavit. She’d also taken a Valium the night of Dec. 12, and Michael Goodman admitted to both methamphetamine use and taking a Valium during the same period, the affidavit said.
Both tested positive Dec. 14 for methamphetamine and benzodiazepines, a class of drugs to which Valium belongs, the affidavit stated. Cox also tested positive for marijuana, according to the affidavit.
On Dec. 19, Williford interviewed Amber Goodman, the mother of Michael Goodman, who also lives at 1501 N. State St., according to the affidavit.
Amber Goodman told Williford that she once heard one of the twins crying and when she entered the bedroom she saw one of the babies on the bed crying with Cox’s 9-year-old son standing over it, the affidavit said. Goodman said it appeared the boy had been jumping up and down on the bed, making the baby bounce, and that Cox was in the bedroom laughing, the affidavit stated.
Williford interviewed Cox on Dec. 22 after advising her of her Miranda Rights, which she waived, the affidavit said.
Cox said that during the night Dec. 12 she got up to use the bathroom and placed both babies face down on their stomachs and side by side in the same crib, according to the report.
Cox told Williford that she woke up the morning of Dec. 13 and checked on the babies, which was when she discovered Elijah wasn’t breathing. Cox said when she picked up Elijah, roaches crawled out of the infant’s mouth and on his back, the affidavit said.
She told Williford she suffered from depression, was bipolar, had “split personalities,” recently had been suicidal and had postpartum depression. Cox said she began seeking treatment for postpartum depression a couple of days before Elijah was found dead.
Cox later told Williford that she smoked methamphetamine in the same bedroom with the twins, and that living conditions in the house were “horrible” and “not safe for any kid.”
Michael Goodman, who was on parole from the Arkansas Department of Correction for previous drug convictions at the time of Elijah’s death, is being held at the Tucker Unit.
Goodman has not been charged in the infant’s death.
Mom who admitted to throwing baby charged with manslaughter
BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) – A Region 8 woman, who admitted to throwing her now-deceased baby across the room, now faces neglect and manslaughter charges.
Police arrested Rebecca Mae Cox, 29, of Batesville on Tuesday on suspicion of manslaughter and first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor.
On Sunday, Dec. 13, Cox told investigators she found her 3-month-old son dead in his crib next to his twin brother.
According to court documents, Cox said she “noticed cockroaches crawling out of his mouth.”
When police arrived at the home, located in the 1500-block of North State Street, one of the officers administered infant cardio pulmonary resuscitation until an ambulance crew arrived and took the baby to White River Medical Center. The child was pronounced dead.
During their investigation, police learned that Cox “did not have a connection” with her deceased son and “could not stand him or stand holding him.”
The Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division reported receiving an anonymous tip from someone who “witnessed several disturbing behaviors” from Cox, including “tossing” the infant from some distance to his father, identified as Michael Goodman.
A witness, according to the affidavit, reported hearing Cox asking on the night her baby died “how could God take the child I don’t resent and leave the one I do?”
The witness also claimed Cox “admitted that she was high on methamphetamine (the night the baby died) and did not know what happened.”
During questioning, Cox reportedly told detectives neither she nor Goodman used drugs around the babies.
“But later admitted to smoking methamphetamine inside the house and in the same bedroom where the babies were present,” the court documents stated.
Cox told police, according to the affidavit, she had used methamphetamine “daily” for three weeks prior to the baby’s death.
She said when Goodman voiced his concerns that she might not be able to care for the children because she could not hear them crying, Cox reportedly told detectives she was “able to stay up though because she had been using methamphetamine.”
According to the affidavit, she tested positive for methamphetamine, benzodiazepines, and THC (marijuana).
Goodman also tested positive for methamphetamine and benzodiazepines.
Cox also stated she knew the house was “bad” and the living conditions were “horrible.”
According to the court documents, investigators reported finding piles of dirty clothing and old food in the floor of the bedroom where the babies slept.
An investigators stated the house had a “severe” roach infestation.
“The roaches were observed crawling on the floor, table, appliances, furnishings, countertops and high chairs,” the affidavit stated.
The investigator stated in his report leaving documents and a business card on the kitchen table and “within seconds roaches were crawling over the documents.”
On Jan. 13, Batesville investigators received the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory autopsy results.
The medical examiner labeled the cause of death as “undetermined,” stating the case was “complicated by numerous factors” including the baby’s health and the “investigative information regarding the behavior of the parents and the possible unsuitability of the home.”
Cox is being held in lieu of $25,000 bond at the Independence County Detention Center.
No word on what, if any, charges Goodman faces. According to the affidavit, he was on active parole at the time of the baby’s death.
The Arkansas Division of Children and Family Services took the other baby into custody.
A medical exam at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, according to the affidavit, revealed the infant had “bruising on the hand and elbow…and a hemorrhage in his left eye.”
Region 8 News talked with neighbors in the area who said they were shocked this happened.
Joan Chartier and her husband saw police cars the day the baby died, but never thought something like this was happening.
“We seen them carrying out a little baby and you know I kind of teared up a little bit but we just figured it was probably SIDS or maybe the baby had some problems,” Chartier said.
Chartier said the neighborhood is normally quiet and friendly.