A judge in Kansas City has ruled on the matter of custody of the nine-month old girl orphaned last year when her father, Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, killed her mother Kassandra Perkins and then shot himself in the head.
Brian Burnes of the Kansas City Star reports that Jackson County Probate Commissioner Daniel Wheeler said in a ruling that the court has awarded custody of young Zoey Belcher to Sophie Perkins, a cousin of her mother. The court was asked to choose between Sophie Perkins and Cheryl Shepherd, the mother of Zoey’s late father. Other maternal family members were also party to the proceedings and Wheeler, who said both women would make appropriate guardians, had a message for all of them in his ruling.
“Based upon the evidence submitted, including the opinions of an expert witness, the Court determines one party is the most suitable person … and whose appointment serves the best interests of the child to a stable and permanent placement,” Wheeler wrote. “The other party, and the other interested persons, will retain the critical role of family members.”