"My mother and brother didn't deserve this"

5:48 AM, Jul 11, 2007   |    comments
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Saint Petersburg, Florida - 18-year-old Victoria Goodin is numb. She can't bear to go inside the St. Pete home that her mother, 37-year-old Paula O'conner shared with Victoria's little brother. A.J. they called him was just 15 months old. "When my brother came along that was her world. Her pride and joy." "He'd always been a very happy baby." She says if you were having a bad day you would see his smile and it would make your day better.

Paula and A.J.'s lives were cut short. Their bodies were discovered inside their home on Dawson Avenue Northeast on Friday. There were no signs of forced entry according to police and no signs of any trauma to their bodies. Goodin lives with her father and was standing in the front yard of her mother's home when the bodies were found. "I just dropped and started screaming where's my brother? Where's my brother?"

Investigators believe someone took Paula's late model black Chevy Trail Blazer and drove it to the Chateau apartments just blocks away on First street late Friday morning. The SUV had a dolphin specialty plate on it. Detectives want to speak to anyone who may have seen the person driving the vehicle.

Goodin says that information and an arrest in the case would give her and her family some closure. "I was very hurt and upset and really that hurt has turned into anger and wanting to know what happened and why somebody would do this." "My mom and brother did not deserve this. They were two of the best people in the world."

Goodin says she'll always remember her mother by the way she handled adversity like A.J.'s delicate surgeries for a heart condition and how he fought to live.

"He never really had the chance to live his life."

His expensive hospital bills led Paula to hire a private investigator and an attorney for a paternity suit against, Ralph Daniel Wright, Junior. Paula recently learned he was married after she says he fathered A.J. She wrote about the ordeal on the website she created at militarydeadbeatdads.com.

So while police continue to investigate her daughter now tries to focus on the memories even laughing as she remembers the good times. "She ate non stop when she was pregnant especially during Thanksgiving." "As you can see behind me the Christmas lights are still up. We had big snowmen out here. We do a candy cane walkway, we put up lights, we've done reindeer, and my mom likes to decorate for Christmas." "I couldn't have asked for a better mom, I really couldn't have."

No doubt the holidays will never quite be the same for Goodin as she gears up to enroll in college in the fall. She says she wants to study medicine. She took care of her little brother after he got out of the hospital until her mother could afford to take him to daycare. "When A.J. came along I got really interested in seeing his X-rays and I was really interested in all of that and I was like I really have to do the medical field. Now I want to help people. I want to help sick children."

Goodin says the viewing for her mother and little brother is on Thursday and then she and her family will say their final goodbyes during a funeral service that is set for Friday.

Tammie Fields, Tampa Bay's 10 News

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