Mother, boyfriend charged in daughter's death - CBS46 News

Mother, boyfriend charged in daughter's death

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ROME, GA (CBS46) -

Jessica Baucom feared the worst.

"Please God, don't let it be true. Please don't let it be Heaven," Baucom said.

But her nightmare came true. Five-year-old Heaven Woods was found beaten to death at a home in Forsyth.

Baucom lives in the Rome neighborhood where Heaven and her mother once stayed.

Baucom, whose daughter used to play with Heaven, said she loved the 5-year-old like she was her own daughter.

"She was so sweet, she was so sweet, just very energetic, full of life, full of curiosity. All she ever wanted was for people to love on her," Baucom said.

Even so, Baucom said she worried about the little girl.

"I've seen the baby girl run and hug her mom's leg just to get smacked in the face," Baucom said.

Baucom said Heaven's mother, Amanda Hendrickson, would beat her daughter in a rage.

"It wasn't discipline. As an adult would slap another adult," Baucom said.

Sara Baucom, Jessica Baucom's mother, said in her own way, she would try to stop Hendrickson.

"Whatever she did to the baby, I just slapped her in the head," Sara Baucom said. "Every time you hit that baby, I'm going to hit you back. If you don't quit hitting her I'm going to call DFCS [the Division of Family and Children Services] on you."

Neither Jessica Baucom nor Sara Baucom ever feared Heaven was in danger of dying.

"Nobody ever thought this would happen, absolutely not," Jessica Baucom said.

Hendrickson and Roderick Buckner were arrested and charged with felony cruelty to children and giving a false statement and likely will face more charges.

"I can't understand the evil that takes," said Jessica Baucom, who added that she wanted to believe the best about Hendrickson.

Jessica Baucom said she now has a tough time mustering sympathy for the woman she once called a neighbor and a friend.

"Seems like she came straight from the devil himself," Jessica Baucom said.

The Baucoms said they reported Hendrickson to DFCS.

If you think a child is being abused or neglected, call the division of family and children services at 1-855-GACHILD. The hotline is always open. Your report is confidential. The law requires DFCS to notify police of all physical and sexual abuse within 24 hours.

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