herald

Sunday 11 December 2016

Jason’s kids should be back home ‘where they belong’ – brother

Undated photograph of the late Jason Corbett with his children Sarah and Jack.
Undated photograph of the late Jason Corbett with his children Sarah and Jack.
Jason Corbett

THE brother of Jason Corbett, who was bludgeoned to death in the US, today said that his children have to be brought back to Ireland “where they belong”.

He said the custody battle with Jason’s wife Molly Martens – who has been quizzed by police over the killing – has been “surreal and traumatic”.

Jack (10) and Sarah (8) had been staying with Ms Martens since their father’s death at his home in North Carolina on August 2.

The children’s mother, Jason Corbett’s first wife Mags, died from an asthma attack in 2006.

Jack and Sarah have now been handed over to Jason’s sister, Tracey Lynch, after a ruling by a judge in North Carolina.

Custody

Speaking to the Herald today, John Corbett said that to face the trauma of a custody battle for their niece and nephew against the backdrop of the violent death of their brother was “surreal and traumatic”.

“Despite that, this is a move in a positive direction and we hope that the court will tomorrow rubber-stamp the decision and Jack and Sarah will be able to come home,” John said.

“Their handprints are in the concrete in my mother’s back garden and this is where they belong,” he added.

“We are now hoping to organise Jason’s funeral so that we can grieve as a family and focus on Jack and Sarah to help them deal with the death of their father,” he added.

The Corbett family’s attempts to gain custody of the children were opposed by the Martens family.

Police in North Carolina continue to investigate Mr Corbett’s death.

Ms Martens and her father, Thomas Martens (65), are named on police records as ‘persons of interest’ in the case.

Mr Martens, a former FBI agent, told 911 operators he had been “in an argument” with his son-in-law and that he had “struck him with a baseball bat”.

According to an police report, the incident was recorded as “an assault” by 911.

Jason had decreed in his will that in the event of his death, his children should be cared for by his sister Tracey and her husband, David Lynch, who travelled to the US after his death.

A hearing for guardianship was held on Friday and a North Carolina official presiding over the case ordered on Monday that the children be taken from the care of Martens.

The order stated that the court had “determined it is in the best interest of the minor child to appoint applicants Tracey and David Lynch, paternal aunt and uncle, as guardians.”

On foot of the order, officials from the Department of Social Services travelled to the address in Munroe, North Carolina, where Molly Martens was staying with the children, and removed them.

Tense

It is understood the hand-over was tense and Martens had to give the passports of both children to officials.

The children were then brought to the Davidson Department of Social Services Office in Lexington, where they waited until they were collected by Tracey on Monday night.

Under the terms of the order, Martens was granted a one-hour supervised visit with the children yesterday.

All concerned parties now have to attend a custody hearing tomorrow where it is expected that the judge, will dissolve the hearing in light of the ruling.

The children will have to stay in North Carolina until then, but the ruling will bring the Lynch family another step closer to bringing the children back with them to Limerick, where the funeral of Jason has been postponed until their arrival.

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