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Doctors 'optimistic' about recovery of Salem children allegedly attacked by mother

Posted by Justin Rice  March 22, 2012 12:04 PM

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The Salem children who allegedly had their throats slashed by their mother, Tanicia Goodwin, on Sunday night continue to improve at Children’s Hospital Boston, according to one of the children’s principal.

"I am pleased to report that Jamaal Goodwin's prognosis has been updated," Witchcraft Heights Elementary School Principal Mark Higgins wrote in a letter to parents yesterday. “We received notice today that while his situation remains critical, his doctors are optimistic about his recovery.

“His sister Erica is alert and speaking to all of the nurses, she is in good spirits. For the moment, thoughts and prayers are welcome and appreciated.”

On Monday Goodwin appeared in Salem District Court, where she was ordered held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing March 26. Goodwin, 25, is accused of slashing the throats of 8-year-old Jamaal and his 3-year-old sister, Erica, and dousing them with lighter fluid.

She was arrested at the Salem police headquarters around 9:30 p.m. Sunday after she walked into the station, smashed a glass case displaying police patches, and then collapsed in the station lobby.

Children’s Hospital could not update the children’s status due to privacy laws.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Children and Families, Cayenne Isaksen, also said she could not comment on the status of the children this morning.

“The children remain in the custody of the Department of Children and Families; going forward, family members will be able to arrange visits with the children at the hospital,” Isaksen said in an e-mail.  “The Department will conduct the necessary, and standard, procedures as we work to determine the most appropriate placement for the children. When it is in the best interest of the child, the Department strives to keep children with family members.

“We will continue working on behalf of the children to ensure that they are placed in a home where they will be safe and properly cared for. In this case, specialized medical care and follow up may be required so we will work to ensure that whoever the children are placed with is able, and prepared, to provide the level of ongoing medical care they may need.”

Higgins also said he has been assured that visitors from the school will be allowed into his hospital room once Jamaal is medically stable.

“We will have the children make cards and posters to be sent to the hospital,” Higgins wrote in the letter to parents. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support and offers of assistance during this difficult period. When the time is right, the WHES Community will plan the appropriate event to provide support to these children. We always take care of members of the WHES Family.”

Justin A. Rice can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com.

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