Published: Oct 24, 2013 1:02 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- The family arrested for disciplining a 3-year-old child to death had a troubled past. Lee County Sheriff's deputies arrested the boy's grandmother, step-father and a family friend.

Investigators said the boy died after he was wrapped up too tightly in a blanket to make him calm down. A friend, who has known the family for three years, described the child's mother as a good parent, who loves her kids, and the step-father as a man who took responsibility and saw his wife's children as his own.    

While the mother was not home when this tragedy happened, the step-father, Doug Garrigus, was one of three adults arrested in connection with the boy's death.

DCF reports said since 2008, authorities have intervened four times because of problems within the family. Reports cited domestic violence between parents and drug use. These situations prompted DCF to have the kids live with their grandmother, Gail Watkins. Despite that, the family friend said she would entrust her son to the boy's mom and step-dad in a heartbeat, and claimed they would never do anything to intentionally hurt ther children.    

That family friend said that both the mother and Garrigus were in the process of attending classes to make sure they could eventually be back in custody of their children.