The family of an Upstate woman who was killed four years before a murder charge was filed in her death is speaking out about the development in the case.
Nicole Goodlett was 28 years old when she disappeared in March 2014. Investigators later announced she was the victim of foul play and in 2015, some of her remains were located behind an elementary school in Berkeley County.
On Mar. 26, four years after Goodlett's death, deputies announced that the father of two of her children, 36-year-old Jerald Jermaine Howard, was charged with murder in the case.
Goodlett's father, James Goodlett, said the tragedy is something the family "will carry all of our days here on God's earth." Both he and Goodlett's brother said the arrest doesn't provide closure, but it is a step in their healing.
"The word 'closure' is not competent in this situation," James Goodlett said. "What it does bring for us is justice for Nicole and the children."
Nicole Goodlett is survived by three children, a boy and twin girls. James Goodlett and his wife Bozena have custody of the twins.
"When they look back at this time and begin to fully understand... what happened to their mother, I would like them to know that as a family we did everything we possibly could to help reach a conclusion and a conviction for the crimes against Nicole and against them as well," Goodlett's father said.
He said his daughter wanted to be a dental hygienist and was looking forward to starting school before her life was taken. He sees Nicole in her daughters as they grow up.
"They're very beautiful children," he said. "She's missing and that was taken away from her - seeing these girls grow and develop. You just see the light they have so it's a joy and also a sadness because she would have loved every moment of it."
Her brother, Daniel Goodlett, said the last four years have been spent wondering why this happened to Nicole. Seeing an arrest made was a relief the family has been waiting on for a long time.
"It gave us assurance that we still have the chance to get justice," Daniel Goodlett said. "We have a chance as a family to move forward. The grief is an endless cycle. We have good days and bad days, but not knowing is probably the worst part of the entire situation."
Daniel Goodlett shared memories of growing up with his sister in a military family, cheering at each other's sporting events and letting her drive his car for the first time. He described Nicole as his best friend, confidant, and someone he looked up to.
"We knew more about each other than anyone else and she was taken from us, taken from me," he said. "My best friend, the person I used to talk to and seek advice from and someone I admired."
He said it is now the family's responsibility to pass on memories of Nicole to her children, who are growing up without their loving mother. He said the two youngest girls won't remember her voice or have their mother send them off to prom. Her son won't be able to hear her cheer him on at his games.
"They'll never experience those things," he said. "She was ripped away from this world in a senseless, senseless way."
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