4-month-old Zoey Michelle Belcher is with her mother’s family in Texas. Jovan Belcher’s mother, Cheryl Shepherd, of Long Island, has filed a petition to take custody of the girl.
A custody battle has erupted over the 4-month-old daughter of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker and killer Jovan Belcher, who murdered her mother and then killed himself after fighting over the baby’s paternity. **(Jovan Belcher’s Mother Told Police There Was An Argument About The Baby’s Paternity Just Before The Murder-Suicide)
The baby, Zoey Michelle Belcher, was left orphaned December 2012 when Belcher pumped 9 bullets into Kasandra Perkins and then drove to the Chief’s practice facility and pumped a bullet into his head as his coach watched.
The fight pits Belcher’s mom(seen below) , Cheryl Shepherd of Babylon, Long Island against Perkins’ parents, who live in Texas.
Belcher’s mom, who had temporary custody of Zoey after the tragedy, allowed (the girls parents) Perkins’ mother and father to take the girl to Texas for her mother’s funeral.
Belcher’s mother has now filed a petition to take custody of her for good.
Shepherd hasn’t seen or heard from her in-laws since.
“Cheryl agreed to temporarily allow the maternal relatives (to) take Zoey to Texas for her mother’s funeral,” Shepherd’s lawyer, Gretchen Gold, told the Missouri probate commissioner in an email.
“The maternal relatives have now ceased communicating with Cheryl Shepherd and have refused to return her calls or return the child to her care.”
The battle is for more than custody of Zoey — her estate is already said to be worth more than $1 million.
A probate commissioner has scheduled a Jan. 11 hearing in Independence, Missouri, to hear Shepherd’s petition seeking custody of Zoey, and a second petition seeking appointment as administrator of her son’s estate.
Meanwhile, Zoey’s maternal grandparents, Rebecca Anne Gonzalez and Darryl Perkins, and other Texas relatives, have filed a lawsuit seeking temporary custody of the girl.
They want the court to appoint a guardian for Zoey and look “into the circumstances and condition of the child and of the home of any person requesting” to care for the child, according to court papers obtained by local newspapers.
A Fort Worth judge is scheduled for a hearing on that case Jan. 22.
So here is what’s at stake $$$$$:
Under the terms of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement with its players, Zoey’s estate or guardian gets more than $1 million.
That includes payments of $108,000 annually over the next four years, $48,000 in the fifth year, and $52,000 every year after that until Zoey turns 18.
If Zoey goes on to college, she will continue getting the $52,000 until she turns 23.
Belcher’s beneficiary also gets $600,000 in life insurance, $100,000 from a retirement account, and $200,000 for each season he played.
The murderer was in his fourth season.
Finally, a trust fund was set up for Zoey after she was orphaned that includes contributions from the Hunt family, which owns the Chiefs, from coaches, players and team employees, and from members of the public.
Perkins was a cousin of Chiefs star running back Jamaal Charles’ wife.