In Kansas City today, a judge ruled on the custody of a nine-month old child who was left parentless when Chiefs LB Jovan Belcher murdered the child’s mother and then committed suicide in December.
Brian Burnes of the Kansas City Star reported today that custody of Zoe Belcher was awarded to Sophie Perkins, a cousin of the child’s slain mother, Kassandra Perkins. The custody hearing came down to either Sophie Perkins or Cheryl Shepherd, the mother of Zoe’s late father. KCTV5 in Kansas City reported that the trial has turned nasty in the last few weeks, with accusations from both sides of drug use and domestic issues among other things. during the trial, the parents of Kasssandra Perkins testified that they believed that their daughter would have wanted Sophie Perkins to have custody of her child.
Jackson County Probate Commissioner Daniel Wheeler presided over the custody hearing, and said that he felt as though either woman would be appropriate guardians for Zoe. Wheeler released a statement during the ruling.
“Based upon the evidence submitted, including the opinions of an expert witness, the Court determines one party is the most suitable person … and whose appointment serves the best interests of the child to a stable and permanent placement,” Wheeler wrote. “The other party, and the other interested persons, will retain the critical role of family members.”
Basiscally, what he meant was that despite the fact that Jovan Belcher’s mother was not granted legal guardianship, she should still remain an important part of Zoe’s life going forward.
Hopefully, Zoe has the most normal childhood possible despite not having either biological parents to raise her.