Democracy Dies in Darkness

Public Safety

She set up a fund to help the child of a slain co-worker — then pocketed it, police say

By Peter Hermann

January 2, 2018 at 3:59 PM

Funeral for program for Stephanie Goodloe. (Courtesy of Mount Gilead Baptist Church/Courtesy of Mount Gilead Baptist Church)

She was 11 years old when she heard the gunshots that killed her mother. She heard a scream, and saw her mother's ex-boyfriend, whom police charged in the death, run past her bedroom.

The June 2016 shooting of Stephanie Goodloe in her home near Capitol Hill wrecked a family, and a co-worker led a fundraising drive for Goodloe's young daughter.

The GoFundMe campaign took in $38,185, but D.C. police said most of the money never reached the daughter or her guardian. The co-worker, police said in an arrest affidavit filed in court, "kept the majority of the funds raised for herself."

Police have arrested Arlene Petty, 30, from Capitol Heights, Md., and charged her with one count of first-degree fraud over the fund. She was freed from jail over the weekend and has a hearing scheduled in D.C. Superior Court on Jan. 22. Petty and her attorney could not be reached for comment.

Related: [Church youth ministry director had taken out restraining order before police said her ex-boyfriend killed her ]

The new charge only adds to the tragedy for a family still grieving the death of Goodloe, 39, who worked at a school and at big-box retailer, and served as youth ministry director at her church. Her ex-boyfriend, Donald Hairston, 49, of District Heights, is awaiting an April trial on a first-degree murder charge in her death. Two weeks before Goodloe's death, she had been granted a temporary restraining order against Hairston, court files show.

"We plan on following this case really closely," said one of Goodloe's cousins, Kim Smith, 47, referring to the fraud charge. "Along with the murder trial, this is yet another case that the family has to follow so we know that justice has been served."

Related: [Girl 11, buries mother after hearing gunshots that killed her]

Smith said she and others thought it odd that a co-worker — she did not recall from which job — would set up the fundraiser. But she said she voiced her hesitation with others in the family who assured her it was okay. The campaign was created on June 20, 2016, two days after Goodloe was killed. Police said it was set up as a joint account involving Petty and the child's grandmother.

D.C. police said a relative filed a complaint over the fundraising site on March 29. At that time, the grandmother told police she had been "locked out" of the account and that GoFundMe had temporarily suspended the campaign. Police said the in affidavit that Petty had transferred $35,054 to a personal bank account.

Police said that of the $38,000 raised, $9,000 had been transferred to the child's grandmother.

Bobby Whithorne, a spokesman for GoFundMe, said misuse of the platform makes up "less than one-tenth of one percent" of all campaigns. He noted that users are "fully protected and we guarantee the money goes to the right place."

He said the company will work with police and the court system to "ensure all of the money raised goes to the family." He said if the courts are unable to recoup the money, "GoFundMe will make a donation to the family."

Read more:

One illegal gun. 12 weeks. A dozen criminal acts. The rapid cycle of gun violence.

D.C. area homicides down in 2017 but year was marked by sobering teen deaths

Firefighters who've developed PTSD helping others learn to help themselves

A man with a machete killed their parents. Then it was their turn to speak in court.


Peter Hermann covers crime for The Washington Post. He previously worked for the Baltimore Sun for 22 years, covering a Baltimore suburb and then the Baltimore Police Department.

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Public Safety

She set up a fund to help the child of a slain co-worker — then pocketed it, police say

By Peter Hermann

January 2, 2018 at 3:59 PM

Funeral for program for Stephanie Goodloe. (Courtesy of Mount Gilead Baptist Church/Courtesy of Mount Gilead Baptist Church)

She was 11 years old when she heard the gunshots that killed her mother. She heard a scream, and saw her mother's ex-boyfriend, whom police charged in the death, run past her bedroom.

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