Amid conflicting reports about their whereabouts, the two Limerick children at the centre of a bitter custody battle in North Carolina were last night believed to have been on their way to Ireland.
Sources said last night that Jack, 10, and Sarah Corbett, 8, along with their aunt, Tracey Lynch, and her husband, David, left the residence in North Carolina where they were staying and were on their way home to Ireland. They had three connecting flights to catch and their family in Ireland were last night awaiting a call to go to the airport to greet them this morning.
It is understood that their father’s removal will take place from Cross’s funeral home on Tuesday night to Our Lady Queen of Peace church in Janesboro.
The funeral Mass will take place on Wednesday, celebrated by Father Pat O’Sullivan PP. Jason’s remains will be buried alongside his first wife at Castlemungret.
The children’s stepmother, Molly Martens, sought custody of them following the violent death of their father, Jason Corbett, in a domestic incident on August 2. Ms Martens and her father, a retired FBI agent, have been the only people questioned by police about his death.
Following this week’s ruling, Ms Martens lodged an appeal to a higher court.
Jason Corbett and Molly Martens.
After the death of his first wife, Mags Fitzpatrick, in 2006, Jason Corbett made a will in which he named his sister and her husband as guardians of the children in the event of his death. A family court hearing held last Friday in North Carolina ordered the children to be returned to Ireland with the Lynchs as they are Irish citizens and this would be in their best interest.
Another judge approved this ruling on Thursday.
Ms Martins is now seeking to appeal that decision to a higher court but a source said that this should not prevent the children from travelling.
Meanwhile, a cousin of Ms Martens has begun a campaign on Facebook to support the rival bid to keep the children in the US.
Amanda Mui wrote: “Please, everyone who can, think of and pray for my cousin Molly Martens Corbett.
“Should two children lose the only parent they have left? Should two children be separated from the only real mother they’ve ever had?”
John Corbett, a brother of Jason, yesterday criticised the behaviour of Ms Martens and her family.
A picture taken from Molly Martens’ Facebook account of Jack and Sarah Corbett, her stepchildren.
“What is now happening shows how cold and callous they are,” he said. “This is an awful attempt by Molly Martens to prevent Jack and Sarah coming home to their real family after a senior judge ruled coming home to Ireland was best for the welfare of the children.
“We believe that she wants to get custody because there is a possible case in the criminal court pending against her and other members of her family over Jason’s violent death. We believe this is all very sinister.
“Jason was only hours dead when she moved to get custody of Jack and Sarah; this shows the kind of remorse she had after his death.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved