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Family wants custody of children after mother's homicide

Lawrenceville, Georgia, was the recent location of an important child custody showdown. A grandfather filed for custody of his nine- and 12-year-old granddaughters after their mother and his daughter was found dead shortly after having an argument with her husband. Although the husband has not been charged with any involvement in his wife's death, police have ruled the death a homicide and he remains the only suspect.

The girls' mother was last seen on July 8, 2011. The woman had an argument with her husband and the girls' father and then went missing. One week later, the woman's body was found in sticks and leaves after only a few minutes of searching. Instead of being eager to help, the husband was allegedly reluctant to communicate with police or the woman's family. Medical officials performed an autopsy but were unable to determine the woman's cause of death. Toxicology testing has been ordered and police hope those reports could provide more information.

In light of the potential criminal nature of this child custody battle, the fight for the two girls is quite intense. The woman's father was given short periods of unsupervised visitation in the immediate week. The woman's family has not seen girls since before their mother disappeared.

The grandfather was also given one or two days per month of visitation. There are some restrictions, however. The girls may not stay overnight at their grandfather's and neither the father nor the grandfather may say anything negative about each other.

There is also a simultaneous custody hearing in the Gwinnett Juvenile Court that requires a home study and an attorney to represent the interests of the girls. The custody hearing is still pending.

Source: Gwinnett Daily Post, "Custody Meet Turns Tense," Josh Green, Aug. 16, 2011

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