Cody Goodrich once referred to her mom, Lorie Foltz, as the entire U.S. Air Force when asked if she had a helicopter parent. Since the morning of Jan. 25, 2016, Foltz's force has operated at full strength.
A phone call from a friend put Foltz on high-alert on a Monday morning. Ordinarily, her daughter would be at school, assisting with a Kindergarten class. After learning Goodrich had not reported to work, Foltz phoned the sheriff’s office to report a welfare concern – telling them to do whatever they needed to get to her daughter.
Her concern, based on the history of Goodrich's relationship with her boyfriend, Dennon Brown, was warranted.
“What I know is that after he shot her, he killed himself,” Foltz said, “and she laid there from the 24th (Sunday) at 9 p.m. till Hannah called me at 7:30 a.m. and said Cody did not show up to teach Kindergarten."
Police reports chronicling the crime scene move from body to body.
Upon entering Goodrich's home, officers found Brown, dead in the bedroom door from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. A dead dog lay in a kennel in a corner of the living room, also shot through the head.
Officers located Goodrich gasping for air at the foot of her bed with blood covering her body. She would speak, but responders could not understand her words. She, too, had been shot in the head – her hand, and the loss of the middle finger on her left hand, may have saved her.
“He shot her in the back of the head,” Foltz said. “That bullet blew out that knuckle. That saved her life. That bullet blew that knuckle because she had her hand up.”
It was the final act in an abusive relationship nearing its end.
“We knew that he had some issues,” Goodrich said, “but we never thought that someone was going to try and kill you. You don’t ever think that is going to happen. I told him that I didn’t want to be with him, and he tried to kill me…I am that person – that woman – who is like ‘Give him another chance, give him another chance,’ and that last chance…he could have killed me.”
For Foltz, it is hard to understand how her daughter, who had been raised to never let a man hit her, stayed in the relationship and adjusted her life around abuse – down to cutting her hair off after being held down by it and beaten.
“I remember sitting at the hospital and finding out that she had lied to me,” Foltz said. “…When you are in the hospital, you have to go by the visiting schedule. I made up my mind I wasn’t going to yell at her, but I said some coarse words to her out there in the waiting room.”
Waiting rooms, waiting and fighting for her daughter would become Foltz’s life. Rage would propel her forward to get her driver's license — lost after she suffered her first stroke. Terror would leave her focused on the little things at odd moments.
“You are really trying to scrap for control in this situation,” Foltz said. “I became obsessed with finding her wallet. I was calling her friends and everything. My brother was getting annoyed with me, and he said ‘Why do you want her wallet?’ I said, ‘I need to know if my kid was an organ donor, because I will not make that decision for her.’”
In waiting rooms, she received updates on Goodrich’s condition, searched frantically for answers and learned her daughter had been signed up for Medicaid. For the last year, the pair have relied on the health coverage for Goodrich’s medical expenses.
When she was shot, she had eight weeks of work study left on her teaching degree and was working part-time at a market. A full-time teaching position would have brought the then 30 year old health insurance. As it was, Goodrich and her mom had few resources to address mounting medical expenses.
While Goodrich’s body fought for her, doctors thought she would never be able to walk or talk again and started to discuss nursing home options with her mom.
“(They would say) I care about you so much, and you should really have a Plan B,” Foltz said. “I said ‘I will not have a Plan B, because this is not happening. This is not the way it is going to end up, and it’s okay if you don’t believe. I’m her mother.’”
For four months, Goodrich stayed in a minimally conscious state before being transferred to a rehab facility for three months. When rehab failed to take because of Goodrich’s level of consciousness, Foltz briefly opted for a nursing home so she could stay by her daughter’s side.
When Goodrich finally woke for good, it was with fighting words, and she has not quit talking since. The pair relocated to West Monroe to be near family, and Foltz has continued to advocate for the best possible treatment for her daughter, going to battle to ensure she has every opportunity to rebuild her body, her mind and her life.
Foltz said even though Medicaid can be infuriating, it allowed her daughter to be saved, and she finds criticisms of the program and the people utilizing it more disturbing due to the broad brush used to classify recipients.
Hearing politicians stereotyping Medicaid users also bothers Goodrich, who looks forward to the day when she would no longer need it because she has her own Kindergarten class, her own benefits package and her old life back.
“This is our life,” Goodrich said. “I did not ask for this, but this is what we got. I understand there are many people who are not doing the right thing, but there are people like me…and I’m sure many other people who did not ask for this. The minute I can get my degree, and I can have another job and do that I cannot wait to go again. Unfortunately, right now, this moment, I don’t know how to talk. I don’t know how to do everything
In February, Goodrich signed up for her Medicaid-allowed eight physical therapy sessions at Glenwood Regional Medical Center. In the first, she was able to walk.
It’s not the first time she’s taken steps, but the progress she has made in recent weeks has left her with renewed optimism about finishing her education – a goal Foltz always wanted her daughter to reach.
Something she never wanted to see her daughter do was become a “poster child for domestic violence,” but Goodrich believes sharing her story is important to her recovery.
“I wanted to be like – I’ll take care of it,” Goodrich said. “…Thinking that someone is going to shoot you. You don’t ever think someone is going to shoot you. I tried…(thinking) like a stupid girl he could change or stupid things like that.”
Sharing her story and reclaiming the life she had before the shooting will be her ultimate victory, and it is this vision Foltz, who had a plan for her daughter from the day she was born, embraces.
“When she gets upset, sometimes I tell her ‘Don’t you let him take one more minute of one more hour of one more day away from you, because it is yours.”
Monroe News Star