A child custody battle concerning the two young children of murdered Limerick man Jason Corbett rages on, much to the disappointment of his Irish family.
Corbett’s children – Jack, 10 and Sarah, 8 – are currently in the custody of their stepmother, Molly Martens, 31, despite the fact that she is a “person of interest” in the investigation into Corbett’s murder.
A final decision on the fate of the children has been adjourned until August 29.
The 39-year-old Irishman was found unconscious and unresponsive at his house in North Carolina on August 2 following an emergency call to local police.
The investigating police believe that Corbett sustained his fatal injuries during a domestic disturbance during which he was struck over the head with a baseball bat, which was found at the scene. Although no arrests have yet been made, the investigators confirmed that they are not looking for anybody outside of the home.
Corbett’s wife Molly and her father, Thomas Martens, 65, are regarded as “persons of interest” in the investigation, although they have not been officially named as suspects.
Corbett’s sister, Tracey Lynch and his twin brother Wayne traveled to the US to repatriate his body and return with his children. His family, however, currently have no access to their niece and nephew and their stepmother is fighting for full custody.
Jason’s brother Tom Corbett has described the situation as “a circus.”
“This is a very unique situation and I appeal to Charlie Flanagan [Minister for Foreign Affairs] to do whatever is within his powers to step in and assist in this humanitarian situation,” Tom said.
“My brother and sisters have had no access to their nephew and niece for the past 11 or 12 days.
“The children are with suspects in my brother’s murder and it is beyond all comprehension. It’s just not right.”
— Irish Examiner (@irishexaminer) August 17, 2015
Corbett’s family have vowed to postpone his funeral until the children are returned to their family in Ireland. His brother, Wayne, returned to Ireland with his body last week.
“On all levels of child psychology and care and nurturing, how can it be to my nephew’s and niece’s benefit to heal and recover from their father’s death in the company of the main person of interest in my brother’s murder?” his brother Tom asked.
“I feel she wants custody so that it will benefit her in the criminal investigation and the very substantial estate of Jason,” he continued.
“They [his family] want to bring them home to help them recover and heal from this terrible situation that has happened to them.
“We are fighting on the ground against this unnecessary heartbreak and in the custody battle.”
Corbett, who is originally from the Janesboro area of Limerick city, moved to the US four years ago with his two children. Corbett’s first wife, Mags, died from an asthma attack in 2006.
Jason met his second wife Molly when she became the children's nanny.
— Independent.ie (@Independent_ie) August 14, 2015
“I knew Molly, but not that well,” Tom added. “I met her on numerous family occasions. She always seemed a bit distant to me.”
Jason’s mother-in-law from his first marriage has also displayed her dismay that the children have been left in the custody of the Martens.
Mags Corbett’s mother, Marian Fitzpatrick said, “I just want my grandkids home. This is where Jason wanted them to be.
“It is a nightmare. We love those kids. I knew Jason always wanted them to come back here as teenagers to rear them here. Any time he came home he was happy and we all met up together.
“Margaret would have wanted them back home with both sets of grandparents. I know that for definite.
“Jason was a brilliant dad. He idolized those two kids.”
Tom Corbett also stated that his brother had previously expressed his desire for their sister Tracey, and her husband David Lynch, to become the children’s legal guardians should anything ever happen to him.
“We feel he was thinking about coming home to Ireland to live,” Tom said. “We feel that was the crux of this whole situation, whatever happened that night.
“I don’t know what happened that night, but I do know that my brother was unbelievably loving and caring. He was a big teddy bear, at 6ft 2in, and he wouldn’t have hurt a fly.
“It is a very strange situation.”
— Newstalk Breakfast (@BreakfastNT) August 17, 2015
Jason’s remains were brought back to Ireland by the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust last week, but his family have refused to bury him without his children present.
Contributions to the Jason’s Journey fund can be made to the Permanent TSB branch in Dooradoyle, Limerick. The account number in the name of Mary Fitzpatrick is 11240513, sort code 990715.
H/T: Irish Mirror