A child custody decision was reached this week regarding Zoey Belcher, daughter of the late Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher. The infant girl was left without parents on December 1, 2012 when her father brutally murdered her mother, Kasandra Perkins, and proceeded to commit suicide outside of the NFL team's practice facility.
Both the maternal and paternal families fought for custody of the 9-month old girl, with her grandmother, Cheryl Shepherd, pushing for a "parenting-by-committee" approach. This means that Zoey would spend half of her time living in Long Island with her father's family, and the other half of the time residing with her mother's relatives in Texas.
Jackson County Probate Commissioner Daniel Wheeler was not satisfied with the idea of the child splitting her time between two states, and ultimately decided that Perkins's cousin would make the best caregiver. Sophie Perkins was awarded custody based on her belief that Zoey would benefit by having one sole caregiver. The two will reside in Texas, and their home will display photos of both Belcher and Perkins.
In a surprising twist, according to Wheeler, the baby girl's $3.75 million inheritance did not come into play during the custody battle between the two families. He noted that the money was never a concern; rather, the devotion to Zoey from both parties was the main reason why they both filed for custody. "The only possible selfish motive both parties could have is their desire to have the child with them, on a daily basis, so they can care, nourish and love the child," Wheeler wrote in the decision.
Kassandra Perkins and daughter, Zoey.