A 5-year-old girl in Texas went through an incredibly traumatic ordeal when both of her parents were shot and killed while standing outside of a nearby church. The gunmen escaped after the crime was committed. The young girl was not harmed, but she was a witness to the crime. The mental side of this had to be very difficult for her to deal with, but officials now say that the child could face other challenges as well. Since the gunmen were not caught, one of the only witnesses to the crime is the young girl. She could potentially put them behind bars, so authorities are worried that they will come after her.
Immediately after the crime, it was assumed that the grandparents were the logical guardians, and the girl stayed with them. This was done to help her with the emotional turmoil because she was with people that she knew. However, authorities now have taken her from the grandparents and put her in a foster home, saying that this will help to keep her safe. It could be that they feel that it would be easy for the gunmen to find the grandparents' house, but that an undisclosed foster home will be impossible for them to track down.
This case is very interesting because both sides really have to be considered. What is best for the young girl? What will keep her safe? This has to be the focal point of any decision regarding custody. At the same time, though, the grandparents' rights have to be considered. Are they legally allowed to be in custody of the child if they want to be, or does the state have the right to move her out of what is perceived to be a dangerous situation, regardless of what the grandparents desire for her?
Source: KLTV, "Texas Ranger: Girl whose father was killed in Tyler Co. double slaying should stay in foster care" Michelle Reed, Feb. 21, 2014