Nikolas Cruz’s birth mother Brenda Woodward, 62, is pictured in an undated mugshot. She has been arrested 46 times including in 1998 when she was caught buying crack cocaine while six months pregnant with the Parkland shooter
New details about Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz’s birth family have emerged and reveal he comes from a line of career criminal women.
The 19-year-old is currently in custody awaiting his next court date on 17 murder charges. He is likely to be put on Florida’s death row unless his attorneys find a way for him to be jailed for life instead.
Cruz was brought up not by his birth mother but by Lynda and Roger Cruz, a couple who adopted him and his half-brother Zachary when they were young. Both Lynda and Roger died before he committed the mass shooting.
Now, the arrest records of his birth mother Brenda Woodward, 62, have been revealed.
They are lengthy and vary in seriousness but perhaps the most poignant is her June 1998 arrest for possession of crack cocaine. She was six months pregnant with Nikolas at the time.
Danielle Woodward, 31, is Nikolas’s half-sister. She was taken out of her mother’s care as an infant then grew up with her grandmother but was forced to live on the street when she died. Danielle – who has never met Nikolas – was arrested for bringing a firearm to school as a teenager
Brenda has been in and out of jail and is currently living in Florida. She has never spoken about the shooting.
Before she had Nikolas, her first child, Danielle, was removed from her care and given to the state.
Danielle, 31, began living in the streets when her grandmother, who eventually won custody of her, died when she was a teenager.
She too has a lengthy rap sheet which includes charges for bringing a firearm to school when she was a teenage student.
She is currently serving an eight-year sentence at the Lowell Annex prison in Ocala for attempted second degree murder of a police officer.
Records show that Brenda has been arrested 46 times in the past, mostly in Miami where she was well known to police as a one-woman crime machine.
Danielle’s criminal history is also mostly in Miami. She has been arrested 19 times, according to public records.
On June 7, 1998, Brenda was followed by police into a well known drug trafficking zone in Miami.
Records obtained by The Miami Herald described how officers watched her handing cash from the window of her car to a man who gave her a bag in exchange.
When they approached her vehicle and looked inside the bag, police found five crystals of crack cocaine.
Nikolas Cruz, 19, is pictured in court on August 15. He is facing the death penalty for murdering 17 people and attempting to murder 17 more on February 14
Nikolas was adopted as a baby by Lynda Cruz (pictured with him) and her husband Roger. Roger died in 2004
She gave birth to Nikolas on September 24, three months later. He was adopted not long after birth and went to live with Lynda and Roger. A month later, Brenda was back in custody on a domestic violence charge.
The following year, she gave birth to Zachary Cruz. He has a different father to Nikolas.
It’s not clear when his birthday is but it is in the same year his mother was arrested for grand theft auto.
Lynda and Roger adopted Zachary when he was born and the two half-brothers grew up in Parkland.
As her two sons grew up in their care, Brenda carried on with her life of violence and drugs.
Nikolas and his half-brother Zachary, Brenda’a third birth child, are shown at their adoptive mother’s funeral in 2017. Lynda died suddenly and Nikolas was struggling to cope with the loss when he committed mass murder
Other charges after she lost both of the boys include beating a friend with a tire iron, threatening to burn her house down, trespassing and others.
Their childhood was normal but Nikolas, it would later be revealed, always had a tendency towards violence and guns.
Roger died in 2004. The boys continue to live with Lynda and Nikolas became more violent.
She died in November 2017 and it was her death which, it is believed, set Nikolas’ spiral towards mass murder in motion.
Cruz murdered 17 classmates and teachers on February 14 when he stormed Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland with an AR-15 rifle.
He was arrested after fleeing the school. Zachary was arrested not long afterwards after disobeying orders to stay away from campus.
He is the only person who has visited Nikolas in custody.
Cruz was arrested on February 14 after murdering 17 people at Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland