The children of slain Limerick man, Jason Corbett, have been placed in the custody of their aunt and uncle, Tracey and David Lynch, and will return to Ireland following yesterday’s final decision in a bitter custody battle.
Corbett’s second wife and the children’s stepmother Molly Martens, a “person of interest” in his murder, left the courtroom in tears on losing her fight for custody of the pair.
A lawyer for the Lynchs expressed their delight at being able to return to Ireland with the children after they were denied access to the children since their arrival in the US two weeks ago until last Monday night.
"Our clients are happy to go home to Ireland and grieve with their family," the lawyer Kim Bonuomo said.
"They're relieved to take the children with them so they can love them and help them process their grief and take care of them."
Martens was joined by 30 members of her family and friends to hear the final ruling of the custody hearing yesterday. Her lawyers had no comment on the final decision.
Jack, 10, and Sara, 8, became the center of a fierce custody battle following the alleged murder of their father earlier this month. They were initially placed in Martens’ custody despite Jason naming his sister Tracey Lynch as their legal guardian in his will following the death of his first Mags Corbett to a severe asthma attack in 2006.
Speaking to Newstalk earlier this week, David Freeman, attorney for Molly Martens, claimed that the terms of this will were written before Corbett’s marriage to his second wife and that his client had been a mother to the children for the past eight years.
“She was devastated,” he said. “She has effectively been their mother for the past eight years. When she first met Sarah and Jack they were three and one [years-old]. She went over there [to Limerick] just as an au pair and she loves them so much.
Emotional scenes as Corbett custody battle concludes pic.twitter.com/Xkpv75QzyX— The Irish Daily Mail (@irishdailymail) August 20, 2015
“I think Jason chose Molly essentially to be the children’s mother. He put the children with Molly, not only did he name Molly in Ireland but he brought them to the United States where Molly was primarily the sole caregiver, who’d give emotional support to the children. That will was done prior to the marriage.
“It’s very sad,” he continued. “The Corbetts are very nice people. I understand they love the children too. Molly’s actions are not against the Corbetts. This has nothing to do with not honoring them, it’s that she’s effectively been their mother for the past eight years, and she feels, and we feel that she is the person best equipped to be their mother and their caregiver.”
The children were removed from her custody on Monday and placed under the guardianship of their aunt and uncle awaiting today’s final decision. The Lynches will now be free to return to Ireland with the children to bury their brother and father.
“On Monday night, not only were the children taken from her, but the children were literally ripped out of her home with no warning to her whatsoever, with their pyjamas on… it was a horrible sight,” Friedman stated.
Irishman Jason, 39, was found unconscious and unresponsive inside his house in in Panther Creek Court in Wallburg, North Carolina on August 2 following an emergency call to local police in the early hours of the morning.
Investigators believe that Corbett sustained his fatal injuries during a domestic disturbance, having being struck over the head with a baseball bat found at the scene. Although no arrests have yet been made, investigators confirmed that they are not looking for anybody outside of the home.
Corbett’s wife Molly and her former FBI agent father, Thomas Martens, 65, are regarded as “persons of interest” in the investigation and have been questioned by police although they have not been officially named as suspects.
The Independent report that Thomas Martens is said to have made a 911 call on the night of the murder confessing that he had hit his son-in-law with a baseball bat during an argument.
It was also reported by the Irish Independent yesterday that Martens had been investigating the possibility of winning legal guardianship of the children for the past two years following difficulties in her relationship with their father.
“She’s never instituted any actions,” Friedman said of the revelation. “She did talk to a lawyer at one point about problems in the relationship, but she never actually instituted any actions in the courts.”
Jason, who is originally from the Janesboro area of Limerick city, moved to the US four years ago with his two children following the death of his first wife.
Jason’s brother Michael Corbett accompanied his remains back to Ireland last week but his family have refused to bury him without his children present.
H/T: Irish Independent