Custody decision due on children of Irish man killed in US

Preparations being made to bring home children of Jason Corbett, killed in US

A file photo of Limerick man Jason Corbett (39) who has been killed in a domestic dispute in North Carolina.

A file photo of Limerick man Jason Corbett (39) who has been killed in a domestic dispute in North Carolina.

 

Preparations are being made to bring home the children of an Irish man killed in the United States earlier this month, pending a custody decision due on Thursday.

Following two weeks of uncertainty, a US court appointed lawyer granted guardianship of Jason Corbett’s children Jack (10) and Sarah (8) to his sister Tracey Lynch and her husband David earlier this week.

The Limerick-born children had been in the custody of their American step mother, Molly Martens, since their father was found dead in an upstairs bedroom of his home in North Carolina on August 2nd.

Molly Martens and her father Thomas Martens, a retired FBI agent, have been described by police as “persons of interest” in the case. No arrests have been made.

Tracey and David Lynch were named as legal guardians to Jack and Sarah in their father’s will following the death of his first wife Mags Corbett in 2006.

The couple attended a seven-hour custody hearing at Davidson County Court last Friday and a decision on the hearing was expected this Thursday.

On Monday, the official presiding over the case, Clerk of Davidson County Superior Court Brian Shipwash issued an order to remove the children from the care of Ms Martens.

It’s understood the order stated that it was in the children’s best interest to appoint guardianship to their paternal aunt and uncle Tracey and David Lynch.

Ms Martens,who had been seeking custody of the children, and the Lynch’s must both attend separate court hearings in North Carolina on Thursday when it is expected the matter will be finalised.

The deceased’s oldest brother John Corbett, who works for the NHS in England, thanked the Irish child welfare agency Tusla and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan for their intervention in the case this week.

A background document which he described as very important in any legal custody case in the world was sent to the US by Tusla outlining why Tracey and David Lynch are capable of caring for the Corbett children.

Mr Corbett added that the pain and suffering that has been inflicted over the past two weeks on his “dear parents” and the children’s maternal relatives has been “unforgivable”.

Mr Corbett’s remains were repatriated to Ireland last week with the help of the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust. The family said his funeral would not take place until his children were home.

The children’s uncle Thomas Fitzpatrick who is a brother of Mags Corbett said he hoped his niece and nephew would be home in Ireland in the coming days.

“All I can say is we are relieved to know they are with Tracey. We are very positive about tomorrow (Thursday) and hopeful to have the kids back by the weekend,” he said.