Grandmother vows to protect siblings of 6-year-old girl killed in Muncie crash

Taelyn Woodson (Photo: Kathy Parris)
Mother charged in crash that killed her 6-year-old daughter
Mother of 6-year-old charged with DUI in crash

MUNCIE, Ind. (WTHR) - A small memorial marks the spot where a small girl lost her life Sunday, just off the Muncie bypass near the Meeker turnoff.

Investigators say Taelyn Ann Marie Woodson did not have a seatbelt as her mother's van left the road, went up a hill, then rolled, throwing the girl out.

The girl's mother, 28-year-old Jessica Skeens, has been charged with drunk driving causing the death of Taelyn, plus neglect and other felony counts.

Jessica Skeens and Nathaniel Jordan

Skeens' boyfriend is also charged. Police say 27-year-old Nathaniel Jordan had repeatedly punched Skeens in the face while she drove the van east on the bypass, then grabbed the steering wheel. The vehicle then flew out of control.

If anything is positive at the very sad wreck scene, it's that there were three other children in that van. All Taelyn's siblings survived with minor injuries.

Their grandmother, Kathy Parris, says one of those survivors asked her after the wreck, "Are you happy we didn't die?

"I said, 'Yes baby, I'm so happy. God saved you. I'm so happy'," Parris said.

By phone, the victim's grandmother told Eyewitness News there were warning signs something like Sunday's crash would happen.

"Taelyn was like my own daughter, she was more of a daughter than a granddaughter to me. I couldn't protect her. I couldn't save her. But I can protect these other three and they will be saved," Parris said.

She says she battled for years to get custody of Taelyn and her siblings. After years living in danger, Kathy Parris says "they will be protected. Completely and totally."

She will fight to raise them, she says.

Friends of the family started a GoFundMe page to raise money for a funeral for Taelyn.