Million Dollar Baby Custody Battle

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“Personally, I don’t know why we would want to reward Jovan’s– the murderer’s — family with giving them the baby, but that’s not a legal argument.”

The grandparents a 4-month old girl, orphaned when her football star father Jovan Belcher killed her mother and himself, are locked in a bitter custody dispute over the tiny heiress set to inherit nearly $3 million.

Tiny Zoey Belcher is entitled to millions in life insurance, annual payments and retirement funds from the NFL as the sole heir to Belcher, a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs who killed himself and the girl’s mother, girlfriend Kasandra Perkins in December.

A lawyer for Perkins’ family said the family was seeking permanent custody of the girl.

“Personally, I don’t know why we would want to reward Jovan’s– the murderer’s — family with giving them the baby, but that’s not a legal argument,” lawyer Jon Michal Franks told ABCNews.com.

The baby was initially in the custody of Belcher’s mother Cheryl Shepherd. Shepherd alleges that she gave the baby to Perkins’ family because they wanted to take the infant with them to attend Perkins’ funeral in Texas. Once there the girl’s maternal grandparents cut off all contact with Belcher’s family, according to her lawyer. [Read full story]

“Cheryl agreed to temporarily allow the maternal relatives [to] take Zoey to Texas for her mother’s funeral,” Shepherd’s lawyer Gretchen M. Gold wrote in an email to the Jackson County, Mo., probate commissioner last week. “The maternal relatives have now ceased communicating with Cheryl Shepherd and have refused to return her calls or return the child to her care.”

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