The widow of murdered Limerick man Jason Corbett has vowed to continue her fight for custody of his two young children.
Molly Martens, a “person of interest” in the investigation into the Irish man’s death, has said she is “prepared to take every legal step” to win back custody of Jack, 10, and Sarah, 8.
The children returned to Ireland last week in the custody of Corbett’s sister and brother-in-law, Tracey and David Lynch, following an emotional custody battle.
Martens’ uncle Mike Earnest has claimed, however, that Martens still believes her stepchildren will eventually be returned to her care.
Earnest also gave his niece credit for raising the children following the death of their mother, Corbett’s first wife Mags Corbett, in 2006.
“Not taking one thing away from their father, but a large part of that - if not the majority of that - is from what they've gotten from their mother,” he commented.
"And I will say this: Molly is very, very distraught about what has happened but she has not lost any faith that her children will one day be returned to her care.
"And she's prepared to take every legal step available to see that happen."
Earnest also claims that Jason intended to seek joint US-Irish citizenship for the children, allowing for Martens to adopt the children, although this claim has been rejected by his family in Ireland.
“If Molly Martens had any real maternal feelings or love for those children, my nephew or niece, or any sensitivity, she would not be seeking to traumatise them further," said Jason's older brother, John Corbett.
“However, I can assure the public the kids are not even aware of any of this coverage, despite the fact that Ms Molly Martens is bombarding her Facebook account with pictures of my brother’s and Mags’ children - with not one mention of my beloved brother Jason Corbett.”
Corbett, 39, was found unconscious in his home in North Carolina on August 2 by police investigating an emergency call about a domestic disturbance in the early hours of the morning.
He had received fatal head injuries, believed to have been caused by a baseball bat found at the scene. Both Martens, and her former FBI agent father, Thomas Martens, 69, have been named as “persons of interest” in the murder, although neither have been formally named as suspects.
It has been reported that Thomas Martens was the person to make the 911 call, telling local police that he hit his son-in-law with a baseball bat in defense of his daughter.
The children initially remained in the care of their stepmother Martens despite Corbett’s will outlining that they should be placed in the custody of his sister, Tracey Lynch.
Traveling to the US after the death of her brother, Lynch was initially refused access to the children and Jason’s funeral was postponed until they were returned to the family.
Last week, the judge ruled that the children could return to Ireland with Lynch.
Martens has said that she has not spoken to the children since they returned to Ireland although she could not comment further due to the ongoing police investigation into Corbett’s death.
"I have not spoken to them since my visitation with them - under which we were all under the impression that it was a visitation, not a goodbye," she said.
Writing on her Facebook page, she continued, "I miss you every second of every minute of every hour of every day… I know you are being so strong and so brave and I am so proud of you."
It has previously been reported that Martens had sought legal advice regarding a divorce and custody of the two children two years ago, although her lawyers state that she never acted upon it.
Jason was laid to rest on August 26, the day he was set to travel to Ireland with his children on a trip to surprise his father for his 80th birthday.