New York City

MTA Chair: We Never Phoned Family of Young Mom Who Died in NYC Subway

Malaysia Goodson was found unconscious on the platform inside the Seventh Avenue station

What to Know

  • MTA acting chair Freddy Ferrer admitted he never phoned the family of a young mother found dead in a Manhattan subway station in January
  • Malaysia Goodson's death was ruled to be related to a pre-existing condition, but it raised questions about a lack of subway elevators
  • Malaysia Goodson, of Stamford, Connecticut, was found unconscious at the bottom of stairs at the Seventh Avenue station on Jan. 28

The MTA chair has admitted he never phoned the family of a young mother found dead in a Manhattan subway -- a decision he now says he regrets.

Malaysia Goodson, a 22-year-old mom from Stamford, was found dead at the bottom of subway station steps inside the Seventh Avenue B D E subway station on Jan. 28, a stroller with her 1-year-old daughter Ryhlee in it still in her arms.

The city's Chief Medical Examiner later ruled that Goodson had no signs of "significant trauma," and it appeared her death could be related to a "pre-existing medical condition." Regardless of the cause, Goodson's death -- at a station that does not have an elevator, just two escalators that go up -- prompted mass calls for increased accessibility across the city's transit system, including from the mayor himself. 

At an MTA board meeting Wednesday, MTA acting chair Freddy Ferrer acknowledged that neither he nor New York City Transit Authority president Andy Byford ever called the Goodson family to offer condolences, and said it was a mistake. He said the MTA made public statements offering sympathies but did not contact the family.

“It’s generally customary that police officials do that. Let me cut to the chase. Sorry that it didn’t happen. That’s regrettable," he said. "What happened with Ms. Goodson was unbelievably tragic...and that's why we're redoubling our efforts to make our system a lot more accessible."

Goodson's cousin Dontaysia Turner was also at the board meeting Wednesday to honor her cousin's memory and join protesters fighting for accessibility in the subway system.

"The station where Goodson fell has no elevators. She was going down the stairs but that station only has escalators that go up. Goodson did what so many parents are forced to do: struggle up and down the New York subway stairs with a child and stroller — and hope for the best," organizers said.

At the time of the incident, Mayor Bill de Blasio said her death never should have happened. "The subway system is not accessible for everyone and that's an environment the MTA should not allow," he tweeted.

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