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Family of woman killed in White House incident seeks child custody

News of an apparently distraught woman made headlines in early October when authorities say that she rammed a barricade near the White House. The alleged incident led to a chase, and ultimately the death of the woman, who authorities shot.

Sources say that the mother was suffering from post-partum depression. The woman’s sister, however, says that the family does not know why the woman traveled to Washington D.C. that day—the family says that it is not clear if the woman’s battle with depression was involved in the incident.

The woman had a 14-month-old child in the car when police opened fire October 3, killing the mother. The baby was placed in the custody of her father, who reportedly is estranged from the family of the mother. The child’s maternal aunt filed papers October 10 in family court seeking temporary custody of the baby.

The woman seeking custody is the sister of the child’s mother. The sister says that she had hoped to get a court order for temporary custody of the child prior to the funeral of the child’s mother. However, the Stamford Advocate reports that the judge denied the ex parte motion October 11—the day after the papers were filed in family court.

While the application for temporary custody was denied in early October, the family of the deceased mother apparently is continuing to seek legal custody of the child. The family claims that before the incident near the White House, the child’s father had not been involved with the baby or provided financial support for the two months preceding the incident.

The baby’s aunt is seeking custody of the child. She says that the baby has an established relationship with her maternal grandmother and aunts.

A custody hearing is scheduled for October 24, according to the Advocate.

The news account suggests that many of the arguments raised by the aunt in the custody battle relate to the relationship between the child and the maternal grandmother, including grandparent visitation issues.

In Missouri, grandparents may be able to seek grandparent visitation rights through a court order in certain circumstances. Notably, like in any child custody and visitation issue, courts view the dispute through the lens of the best interests of the child standard.

Source: The Stamford Advocate, “ Baby in D.C. police shooting in custody battle,” John Nickerson, Oct. 11, 2013

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