Children at centre of US custody battle arrive in Limerick

Woman and father ‘persons of interest’ in investigation into Irishman’s death

Sarah Corbett (8) in the arms of her uncle David Lynch at Shannon Airport  this morning. Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22

Sarah Corbett (8) in the arms of her uncle David Lynch at Shannon Airport this morning. Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22

 

The children at the centre of a custody battle in the US, after the violent death of their father, have arrived in Limerick.

There were concerns over a possible delay in bringing Jack (10) and Sarah (8) Corbett back to Limerick, after their American stepmother Molly Martens lodged an late appeal against a decision to grant custody of the children to their paternal aunt Tracey Lynch and her husband David.

However, it is understood the appeal process could take several months and the two children landed at Shannon Airport on Saturday morning.

Speaking after landing, Ms Lynch said the family were relieved to be home. “We are delighted to be home with the kids – to bring them back to Ireland. We would love some peace now so we can bury Jason.”

Ms Martens and her father Thomas, who is a retired FBI agent have been described by police as “persons of interest” in the investigation into the death of Limerick man Jason Corbett who was found dead at his home in North Carolina on August 2nd. No arrests have been made.

On Thursday, Judge April Woods at Davidson County court in North Carolina dismissed the case of Ms Martens, who had been seeking custody of her Irish stepchildren, who moved to America with their father four years ago.

The dismissal followed a guardianship ruling on Monday by Brian Shipwash, clerk of the superior court of North Carolina, which stated that it was in the children’s best interests to live with their aunt.

However, late on Thursday night Ms Martens lodged an appeal against Judge Woods’s decision.

John Corbett a brother of the late Jason Corbett said the decision to appeal was very calculating.

“It just shows you the pure callousness and coldness of the Martens family, especially Molly Martens in this desperate attempt to try and prevent my brother’s children’s return to their true family – because a senior family court judge decided that the long-term future and care of Sarah and Jack would be the most beneficial with his true family in Ireland,” he said.

Jason Corbett’s remains were repatriated to Ireland last week, but his family insisted they would not bury him until his children were home. They said they will now plan his funeral.

Mr Freedman said his client was devastated that her case had been thrown out. “She’s distraught. She’s raised those children since they were one and three; she’s the mother they’ve known.”