Mom in Child Beating Tape Pleads Not Guilty

"Anybody who saw that video, I think, was sickened in their heart, and obviously, our first priority is ... to make sure that little girl is safe," Toth argued. "The worst thing we could do is return a girl, a little girl like that, to an environment where we're not sure whether she's going to be safe or not."

From Town to Town

Toogood and many of her family members are part of a group that calls themselves the Irish Travelers, a nomadic group that moves from town to town, looking for work.

Since the incident in the parking lot 10 days ago, Toogood traveled from Indiana to Maryland to Pennsylvania and back. She also made a videotape of Martha, as "proof" that the child was not abused, she said.

She said she videotaped her "from head to toe" on the night that she left Indiana because she knew authorities would say she was abused. But Toogood said there was not a mark on her.

Police had been searching for Toogood and her daughter since the Sept. 13 incident, caught on video by a surveillance camera outside a Kohl's department store in Mishawaka.

It is store policy to follow customers who try to return merchandise into the parking lot, so when Toogood left, the camera zoomed in on her, just as the beating began.

Authorities said Toogood left the store angry because she was refused a cash refund for goods. But Toogood denied the failed refund attempt was connected to the beating.

The mother says she has already received the worst punishment she can imagine for her actions. "There is nothing that could be done to me worse than is my child's been took away from me," Toogood said. "It's the worst thing that could ever happen to me."

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