Who Are the Toogoods?

As 4-year-old Martha Toogood remains in foster care, new details about her parents' unconventional lifestyle and brushes with the law continue to surface.

Madelyne Gorman Toogood, who was videotaped beating her daughter, and her husband say they are fit parents who deserve to raise their own children, even as their background appears to be a growing concern for investigators.

Police say both parents were in trouble with the law long before Madelyne rocketed to national attention when the surveillance tape of her parking lot beating was shown on TV stations across the nation.

The latest charges came Friday. Police say she supplied them with bogus home addresses that turned out to be empty stores or laundromats. St. Joseph County jail officer Jay Dooley said Toogood, 25, turned herself in on the misdemeanor charge of false informing. She was released after posting a $2,000 bond.

Madelyne's attorney Steven Rosen said the Toogoods' history shouldn't come into play when it comes to getting their daughter back.

"These are very fit and loving parents," Rosen said on ABCNEWS' Good Morning America. She's [Madelyne Toogood] charged with battery. All of these other matters should not come into play."

Prosecutor Chris Toth said he thinks the Toogoods transient lifestyle and police records are important to look at. "Obviously we've had concerns about Martha [Toogood's daughter] from the outset," Toth said on Good Morning America.

"It's public record now that there is a history of fraudulent schemes in the family, so we want to make sure the girl is returned to a safe environment."

Police say both parents were in trouble with the law long before this incident.

The Other Toogood

Back in December of 1998, Madelyne Toogood co-signed a $5,000 bond for her husband, John James Toogood, who was facing grand theft charges, according to Summit County, Ohio court records.

In 1992, a Summit County grand jury indicted him on two counts of grand theft. Toogood's attorney told the Akron Beacon Journal that his client had already left Akron, Ohio, by the time the indictment was handed down, adding that Toogood didn't realize there was a local charge against him.

Six years later Toogood ran into trouble in Philadelphia and was extradited to Akron. He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of one count of theft, and Summit County Common Pleas Judge James Williams sentenced him to three years of community control, or probation, fined him $500 and ordered him to make full restitution of $7,900 to the victim.

Then, in August of 1999, a felony theft-by-deception warrant was issued for John Toogood in Whitefish, Mont. Detective Roger Bergstrom said he had been doing faulty home repair and duping residents, mainly elderly women.

He was arrested on the Montana warrant in Casper, Wyo., but posted bail of $20,000 in cash and took off. Police later arrested Toogood in Fort Worth on bail-jumping charges. He is scheduled for trial in Flathead County District Court on Jan. 6.

In a separate home-repair case, Toogood was ordered to pay $7,000 in restitution to a 92-year-old victim. He then apologized to the court saying he was "down on his luck" and needed money for his family.

Meanwhile the Toogood family are reportedly the owners of an entire fleet of expensive vehicles from SUV's to trucks and even a Mercedes Benz.

Reclusive, Nomadic Culture

The Toogoods are members of a reclusive, nomadic subculture that has survived for more than 150 years with little notice in America, with the exception of law enforcement officials who describe the Irish Travelers as a culture of con men and scam artists.

But others familiar with the Irish Travelers insist they are misunderstood and unfairly maligned, and worry over the impact of the now-infamous videotape of Toogood flailing away at the child in the back of her SUV.

Madelyne Toogood, who has been granted supervised visits with Martha, is scheduled to appear in court on the battery charges Oct. 7. The Toogood couple also has two boys, 5 and 6.

ABCNEWS' Mike Von Fremd contributed this story.

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