Heaven Woods’ family had long DFCS history

Five-year-old Heaven Woods died of blows to the abdomen weeks after the state supposedly began investigating evidence that she was being beaten by adults in her home, an official case summary obtained Tuesday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reveals.

On May 1, a caseworker visited the girl’s home in Floyd County after someone reported seeing an adult kicking Heaven in the back as they walked down the street. The worker who visited found no marks on her back but apparently did find other suspicious marks, the file suggests. (Like all case files released by the Division of Family and Children Services, it is so heavily redacted as to be almost indecipherable.)

The identify of the alleged assailant is among the details blacked out. However, Heaven’s mother, Amanda Hendrickson, and the mother’s boyfriend, Roderick Buckner, have been charged with murder in her death.

On May 20, EMS workers in Monroe County responded to a call from Buckner’s home saying that Heaven was unresponsive. An autopsy revealed that she had died of blunt force trauma to the abdomen. It also revealed evidence of several other injuries, some fresh and some old.

The report in May was the ninth time the family had been reported to DFCS since 2009, according to the file, which the agency released in response to an open records request from the AJC. With only one recorded exception, all the reports were filed in Floyd County.

The agency screened out most of the complaints with no formal investigation, occasionally referring the family to ministries or other social service agencies for help.