The family of Malaysia Goodson is reeling after the 22-year-old's death in a Midtown Manhattan subway station on Monday evening. "I can't think straight, I'll be honest with you," her brother told PIX 11. "I don't know what to do."
Goodson, who lived in Connecticut but grew up in NYC, had taken her 1-year-old daughter Rhylee to the city visit relatives and do some shopping. While walking down the stairs at the 7th Avenue B/D/E subway station at West 53rd Street, Goodson apparently fell. She was pronounced deceased at a nearby hospital. Rhylee was uninjured.
It was initially believed that Goodson had been carrying Rhylee in her stroller, but the police are continuing to investigate her death. A police source said to the Daily News, "It’s still very preliminary. We’ll have to look at video. It looks like the woman was holding the baby in her arms and then carrying a stroller. The stroller was found toppled over next to her at the bottom of the stairs."
The Post reports, "Detectives believe that the mom wouldn’t have fallen far, and almost certainly not down the whole flight, sources said. She had no marks on her body, leading them to believe she suffered a medical emergency and died from that rather than any tumble, sources said."
No one apparently saw the fall, but other subway riders went to the MTA station agent for help. Goodson also may have had a medical problem—her family said she had a thyroid issue—and the medical examiner is determining the cause of death. Baby Rhylee is currently with her father in NYC.
The tragedy is highlighting the challenges of navigating NYC's subway system with young child in a stroller. Of the MTA's 472 stations, only about a quarter are accessible with elevators, and of the elevators that are at stations, many are "unclean" and are often broken.
The MTA issued the following statement in the wake of the tragedy: "This is an absolutely heartbreaking incident. While the ultimate cause of the event is being investigated by the MTA, medical examiner, and the NYPD, we know how important it is to improve accessibility in our system. The Fast Forward Plan acknowledges and prioritizes this work as one of four key priorities, and aims to ensure that riders will never be more than two stops away from a station with an elevator. This will be accomplished through the addition of up to 50 elevators over the next five years. We believe this is an important issue of practicality and equality, and once accomplished, riders will never be more than two stops away from a station with an elevator."
Goodson's mother Tamika Goodson recalled her daughter's outgoing and loving personality, noting that she worked at a daycare center near their home in Stamford. ""We are just shocked and I guess we all are trying to wake up from this bad dream," Goodson's mother Tamika Goodson said to reporters. "I don’t have much to say, but I’d like to thank everyone for sending their condolences. I’m thanking everyone for their prayers because God knows we are going to need it."