The grandparents of 4-month-old Zoey Belcher are in the midst of a custody battle as a result of the murder-suicide of former Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher, according to the New York Daily News.
Belcher, 25, killed himself after taking the life of his baby’s mother, Kasandra Perkins.
Now both sides of parents of the young couple want the girl and the fight is getting ugly.
Belcher’s mother, Cheryl Shepherd, was the only witness to the murder of Perkins as she was living in the rented $4.7 million home with the couple at the time of the murder.
Shepherd made the 911 call and currently has temporary custody of the child, awarded by the Kansas City police.
Shepherd claims that she sent Zoey to Perkins’ family to attend Kasandra’s funeral, but has not heard or seen from the family since.
“The maternal relatives have now ceased communicating with Cheryl Shepherd and have refused to return her calls or return the child to her care,” Shepherd’s lawyer, Gretchen Gold, wrote to a Missouri probate commissioner last Thursday in court filings obtained by the Daily News.
Gold says that the maternal mother, Rebecca Gonzalez, found out that Shepherd was preparing to file a petition for guardianship of Zoey out of Kansas City so she filed for it a day earlier in order to beat her to it.
A January 11 court date has been scheduled to hear Shepherd’s petition seeking full custody of Zoey and about her multimillion-dollar estate.
A Fort Worth judge has scheduled a January 22 hearing on the custody petition of Zoey’s maternal grandparents.
“The maternal side is going to raise issues over whether Shepherd knew her son was in a volatile state or was a violent man,” said Marilyn Chinitz of the law firm Blank Rome. “They’re going to say she was around and did nothing, and that means she’s not fit to take care of the child. That will be their argument and it’s a very compelling one.”
Chinitz does not represent either party.
Zoey stands to make $3 million until she is an adult, in a pension from the NFL.
Follow Marquise Francis on Twitter @mKfly