A month after losingĀ  mom Kasandra Perkins and dad Jovan Belcher, Zoey Belcher is at the center of a bitter custody battle between her grandparents.

Cheryl Shepherd, Jovan’s mom, retained legal custody of her 4-month-old granddaughter after her son murdered his girlfriend, Zoey’s mom, and himself last month. Cheryl allowed Zoey to stay with her grandparents in Texas, Kasandra’s family, so that she could be in attendance at her mom’s funeral. Upon baby Belcher’s arrival, the Perkins family cut off all contact from Cheryl, causing her to seek legal assistance in getting her granddaughter back.

As of now, Cheryl is accusing the Perkins family of baby snatching, alleging that her allowing Zoey to stay with them through the funeral was a temporary arrangement. The Perkins family has countered Cheryl’s argument with their lawyer telling the press that they were seeking permanent custody of baby Zoey before the funeral and Cheryl’s giving of their granddaughter was a permanent agreement.

Zoey is entitled to nearly $3 million in life insurance and retirement payments from the NFL. Jovan Belcher murdered Kasandra Perkins in their home and then drove to his team’s stadium where he killed himself in front of coaches and police at the beginning of last month. Belcher played for the Kansas City ‘Chiefs’ immediately before his death.

Source: ABC News




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  1. Joint custody… From NY to Texas lol…. Why does anyone think that his mom saw him “mentally unravelling” any more than her mom saw that her daughter was extremely manipulative and immature ?

  2. People we raise our children in the hopes that they do not become murderers, but to blame Jovan’s mother for him murdering his girlfriend is disgusting. Yes its clear Jovan had problems, but Kasandra had problems too. When people are spiteful and say hurtful things it can be very dangerous. Their argument and what transpired was such a tragedy, and should have never happened. The fact is a baby has lost both her parents for reasons we will never know. The nfl set up a trust for the baby, and basically it is the remaining salary of his contract put away for his only heir his daughter. The trust is protected and will be looked after by a trustee, no one can touch it, the child we not have access to it until she becomes the age of an adult. So if the grandparents on either side think they will have access to that trust they are sadly mistaken. Also we need to start focusing on family unity, we need to teach our daughters that you don’t have to get pregnant by a man with money, we have to encourage them to go to college, and be in a relationship with marriage potential, and expect to be proposed to and then marry, and then start a family. We need to teach our sons the same thing, emphasize the importance of education, be selective with your mate, think in terms of marrying that woman, and then starting a family. That is the major problem in our community, dollar signs, getting pregnant means getting paid. I am sick of the baby’s mama and baby’s daddy and the idea that it is ok. This is what is leading to the destruction of our black families, playing house, having babies, and still want to go out with friends (men & women) and have a good time, once a baby is born, the reality is that the baby comes first, not friends, not concerts, not clubs but the baby. Once this is realized then maybe we can become our Black family unity again.

  3. Why can’t they just share custody? You can never run out of love. Not that lady fault her son killed his gf. Her school years should remain at one residence. Her holidays should be alternated. Her summers should be spent with whomever does not have het the school year. Yes money could be the motive. Some of you forget this child will get a hefty SSI check every month. I pray the families can come to agreement without courts involved.

  4. BTW, for those of you thinking that the grandparents are seeking some monetary gain instead of the child shows that either you don’t have children nor lost alive one as close as a child. I think both of the grandmothers love baby Zoey more than any dollar amount.

  5. In my professional opinion the courts will look at the best interest of the child. Laws for custody varies state to state. In considering custody first thing you should know that the judge will not grant joint custody. This child is an infant and joint custody is NOT for the best interest of Zoey. The courts will abide by Parenting Time Guidelines. Look them up in the state of Texas and New York. This child is too young to travel back and forth to appease the grand parents. Again, this is about the child, not the grand parents. Certain circumstances hold bearing. The maternal grandparents have physical custody and is now seeking legal custody as the paternal grandmother. If the paternal grandmother relieved possession and the maternal grandmother noted the state of Texas which she would have had to have some records on the baby bc a baby at that age would be required to have well check visits at least every 2-3 months. This will show that the welfare of the child is deemed fit. (In order for the person who does not have custody of the child to receive custody, they have to PROVE that the other party is unfit) the courts like stability for a child. They don’t want a child being thrown back and forth. The fact that the paternal grandmother was there prior to the death or after the birth holds no bearing in family court. It does not mean that Kassandra was an unfit mother. My mother also assisted me after I came home from the hospital with 3 of my cesarean births. I see this case going into mediation to knock out the kinks but I believe that the Perkins family will be rewarded legal and physical custody and the Belxher family will receive some state regulated PT or grandparent rights that is according to the state.

  6. Since none of us has the wisdom of King Solomon…this is a hard one. Taking the money out of the equation, I feel, as a young woman, that Zoey should be raised by the Perkins with visitation given to the Belcher’s.

    Yes Mrs. Belcher is attached to Zoey and yes she did move in to help Zoey’s parents with her but not only was she there for three months but she raised Jovan and yes she raised a NFL star but at the end of the day, her son killed Zoey’s mum and she knowing her son better than anyone else on this planet had to have seen SOMETHING going on with Jovan. People do not go crazy overnight, she saw something and she needs to assuage her guilt in some other way than wanting to raise Zoey. Zoey does not need to grow up in a house surrounded by memorabilia of her NFL dad aka her mum’s murderer.

    The first time I saw the article on BCK was the first time I cried over anything I saw in the two years I have been coming here. In the photo, Jovan looks so much in love with his daughter, but shortly after that he took himself and Zoey’s mum away from her, forever.

    The first time I held a gun I was five and I have been shooting for almost ten years. I have hunted with my dad and have had to take responsibility and end a suffering animals life when I didn’t do it properly the first time. I added this to say, it’s one thing taking down an animal from a distance it’s another having to do it up close, even though it’s food, it stays with you. JOVAN SHOT KASSANDRA NINE TIMES, NINE TIMES! To do that to another human being, the mother of your child speaks to a mental illness that didn’t just suddenly manifest.

    Whether that mental illness was brought on by brain injury due to his profession, or hereditary, or he just drew the short mental illness straw, Zoey does not need to be primarily raised by the same person who raised him, by the person who had to have seen something, and unfortunately (to the best of our knowledge) did nothing.

    • Cosign. Jovan’s mother had to have seen the signs that he was mentally unravelling. while Kassandra was his girlfriend (or one of them) she did not know him that long and the person who should have recognized that something was wrong with him should have been his mother. If Zoey is given to his mother by the time she is old enough to ask questions the Belchers will have convince Zoey that her mothers murder was actually an accident and that Jovan killed himself out of “grief”. They don’t have Zoey as yet but Jovans relatives have already begun to put the spin on, saying that Jovan didn’t mean to kill Kassandra, but @Oxford is right, I looked it up, Jovan shot Kassandra 9 times. Wherers the “accident” in that?

  7. I think it is really sad that people are jumping to conclusions about the maternal grandparents. How can you sit there and judge these people after they have lost their daughter? Maybe they weren’t living with the couple because he isn’t responsible for financially taking care of them and they have jobs of their own and his mother may have been staying with them because he preferred to help take care of his mother who took care of him. I don’t think money has anything to do with this. I think a family lost their daughter and this baby is a connection to the child they lost. Jovan’s mom is innocent and she should have visitation but the custody of that child should be given to the maternal grandparents. To have your child murdered and then not be able to raise their child would crush me as a parent.

  8. So many lies. Im not even sure if it’s the Belcher family telling them- or if it is the reporters twisting things up. I suspect it to be a little of both.
    Kasi’s family was VERY involved with her, Her mother, sister, grandparents, and more WAS there during the birth of her grandbaby, gave baby showers, etc., and Kasi had made several trips back to Texas in the months before the murder. To say they weren’t close is an assumption that has no basis.
    Two weeks before the murder, Belcher’s mother left her two other children that are ages 7 and 11 to MOVE IN with Jovan, leaving her other childrenm in New York,, Will she do that to Zoey also, just move away from her?.These are two children she adopted already..I wonder what the state of New York thinks about that?
    Belcher’s mother signed a paper releasing custody to the Perkins family. The Perkins family even took Zoey TO NEW YORK AFTER Kasi’s funerals to attend Jovan’s funeral there, Remember those press reports and that they were AFTER Kasi’s funerals,Why didn’t Belcher’s mother take Zoey back at that time if she wanted her? Why did she let the Perkins family take her back to Texas? To state to the courts that she had not seen Zoey since she was given to the Perkins for Kasi’s funeral is certainly a lie, but to go as far as to claim it baby snatching is just disgraceful.
    MANY things have been said to make Kasi out to be the bad guy. I find it awful that people point out a night at a concert as the cause, or begrudge her an evening out (as many young mohters look forward to that one night they finaly get out after having a baby) but don’t seem to mention the fact that Jovan was away, drunk, all night, with his OTHER girlfriend, as he admits on the dashcam when he was stopped by the police.
    Belchers family and friends have even been out now saying that he shot her by accident. What next?
    Zoey should be right where she is, In Texas.

  9. This is just sad. People need to put their selfishness aside and act in best interest of the baby. I don’t see why they are fighting anyway. They can share custody equally, so that this baby can be a part of all of their lives. If anything happened to me I would not want anyone fighting over my kids. This is the reason why I chose to put my wishes in writing. No one should have access to that money. It should be handed over to the child on her 18th b-day. You will then see who really has this child’s best interest. When my mom passed away, my grandmother took all of us in w/out a dime. She didn’t have much, but she raised us with what she had. We never had to question what her motive was b/c it spoke for itself.

  10. His mother was there only two weeks before the shootings not the entire time. Why is everyone slamming a dead woman saying she wasn’t taking care of her baby and the baby wasn’t his. Yes she went to help because they were having problems that doesn’t means she better than Kassandra’s parents who live in another state and have jobs so probably couldn’t up and leave like her. His mother already said that baby is his she looks just like him. I just hope the judge put the baby with the right people. She actually needs both sides on the family but just because his mom was there doesn’t mean she should automatically get to keep the little girl! Personally let something like that happen with me and my husband even though I love my mother on law my mom and entire family would be right there fighting (literally) for my sons. When Ray Caruthe killed his prefab at girlfriend you see her mom stepped up and took the baby.

  11. IMO…I think ALL the money should be put in a trust fund for Zoey to have when she is 18 or 21. If these people truly love her and want the best for her they should raise her on THEIR OWN DIME and prove just how much they love her. MY heart breaks for both families. The evil in me thinks Ms Belcher should have NOTHING to do with the babY HOWEVER realistically I think that the baby should be raised in a loving home be it with his mom or hers. I think it’s a little unfair for some people to chastise Kasandra for going out but no one is pointing out he was ALSO OUT THAT NIGHT TOO….does that make him a bad father? Everyone needs to set their emotions aside and give this baby a good stable home free of the drama and hell she clearly has been going through since her birth. God bless her.

  12. I think ppl feel as though the Perkins Family should receive custody only because their daughter Kassandra is the mother and also because some feel as though the paternal grandma shouldn’t have custody due to the actions of her son. For her to move in with them and help a young couple take care of a child speaks volumes. I heard nothing about the Perkins family wanting custody until the NFL, announced that they would financially take care of baby Zoey.

  13. Jovan Belcher’s mom flew from her home to move in with her son because his girlfriend was not taking care of their 3 month old daughter. That’s why his mom was involved in the first place. Why didn’t her mother come and stay with her when she gave birth to her granddaughter. The Perkins people were no where around with this baby?, Why should they get custody. The Perkins family new there were problems but clearly did not come and get their daughter and granddaughter. Cheryl has been with her grandbaby since the beginning helping them because she did not want to be bother with a baby, thats why she was at the concert and living life while his mom was taking care of the baby. Please once the Perkins got wind of that trust fund, that baby is dollar signs. That baby has been loved and protected by his mother since she was born, how dare those Perkins kidnap and holed the baby hostage. Disgusting. If there is any disfunction in a family they need to look at that Perkins family who were not their to support their daughter or granddaughter.

    • How the hell do you know this? Are you apart of the KILLER’S family? Kassandra was a FULL-TIME student enrolled in college wasn’t shopping all day spending his NFL paycheck! She left this fool to go back to Texas with their child, but she did what any abused mother did-SHE WENT BACK TO THE CHEATING FOOL! And his stupid a$$ mother needs to sit her butt down somewhere. She heard them arguing, but did NOTHING to stop it! She only came to live there since she was already living off of her son’s NFL paycheck while Kassandra’s parents WORK for theirs! So she could come ‘help’ with her grandchild. One moment she says the child wasn’t her son’s, she’s his son, she loved Kassandra like a daughter, but she’s part of the blame why she’s not here raising her child today. Go sit in a corner and read a book!

  14. Cheryl Belcher was staying with Kasandra and assisting in the care of her granddaughter at the time of the tragedy. In my opinion, that speaks volumes for how involved she was and planned to be in her grandaughter’s life. Many may feel that the maternal grandmother has the right to custody but in my opinion, they are both mothers and grandmothers, so they both are probably equally capable of loving and nurturing the baby. Regardless of who the baby lives with, both sides really need counseling to come to terms with what occurred. No one should be forced to carry the burden of someone else’s actions…this includes the grandparents and the baby who was left an orphan.

  15. The baby should be w/ the grandparent that was there from the beginning, jovans mother w/ joint custody w/ the maternal family. She moved to help take care of that baby before everything happened. She had nothing to do w/ her son going off the deep end.

    Another reason why Jovans mother should get custody, b/c maternal parents can’t seem to respect court orders. What they are doing is considered kidnapping. Jovans mother is the legal guardian appointed by the courts. She compromised & was nice enough to let them take the baby to another state. Why did they cut off communication w/ her? That seems suspect to me, & makes me think money is the motive. I’m sorry, I know they lost their daughter & that baby is the closest thing to them having their daughter back in their life, but there actions are a little shady.

    Its not fair to say ‘she raised a killer, she shouldn’t be w/ the child’…she raised her son the best of her ability. She raised an NFL star, which people would say is a great accomplishment. He, an adult, had personal issues that caused him to react the way he did. Thats not her fault. She lost a child too & I’m sure shes beating herself up, wondering what she could have done… 1st there should be a DNA test, b/c supposedly there was talk about paternity, then grant joint custody to the grandparents. Every other holiday, few weeks out of the month switch off. When the child starts school, see which area has the best schools. Or the grandparents can move closer together. Either way, that baby deserves both families in her life. If she grows w/ resentment towards her fathers family, let her decide on her own.

  16. This is truly sad.

    I hope Zoey is raised is a happy home…I will say as a Mother I’d prefer the Perkins family raise her, not saying that Cheryl is incapable, just my feels towards this situation.

    God bless Miss Zoey!

    Next they will be fighting over changing her last name from her murderous Father’s. Posters, your thoughts?

  17. Wow that poor little baby is going through alot even though she’s too young to know it. I do agree with most that the baby should stay with the Perkins family. I hope they can get it togther.

  18. I agree that both parents should be in the childs life..no one is saying the Belcher family is unfit or unstable for what their son did. I just think that the maternal grandsparents should be given full custody…not saying that the paternal grandparents should be cut out of the baby’s life.

  19. I think the woman’s mother should have full custody and the other grandmother should have visitation rights. After all, it was HER son who killed that woman! Her son took the other woman’s child away so its only right she get the baby. Furthermore, she raisesd a psycho suicidal murderer! So maybe raising kids isnt her forte? Give the baby to the maternal grandmother!

  20. I wonder if Zoey didn’t come with 3 million attached to her, if they all would be fighting to get custody of her? They better be careful, the judge may chose someone different, like the child’s real biological father, and they be left with visitation rights. IJS. Greed never ends up well.

  21. For some of u to even say that this beautiful baby shouldn’t be raised by her father’s mother is ludacris! It’s obvious that Jovan’s mother raised a successful young man that had some demons. that’s not her fault! If that’s the case u can say that Kasandra’s parents didn’t raise a strong will woman who should have known the signs! Which is totally ludacris!!!! I’m sorry whoever has this baby’s best interest at heart should raise her and as of right now the Perkins doesn’t seem to be it! If they wanted to get custody of Zoey then custody papers should had been filed immediately! Please work together just because Jovan took a life don’t punish his mother for his wrong doing sorry!

    • I totally agree! To see many of these ppl on this site posting that the Perkins Family should receive custody only because Cheryl is a incompetent parent who raised a murderer, therefore the child should be with the Perkins family…makes me shake my head in disgust. She did not kill Kassandra…she wasn’t the cause of this tragedy. I didn’t know the Perkins Family existed until the NFL said they would take care of Zoey throughout her life.

    • I did not know his mother moved in to help with her granddaughter. Now that says a lot. I would have thought Kassandra’s mother would have done that.

  22. Legally both the maternal and paternal grandparents have rights to the minor child. They should agree to raise her jointly and equally. She was loved by them all before the lost of her parents. Its her right to be loved and cared for by them now so she can gain what her parents are not here to provide, a sense of her heritage. We must understand the acts of one does not deem another unfit. We must consider the full spectrum of the situation and not just the emotional. My children need all of their family not just the part inwhich my dna stems.

  23. It should be joint custody. End of discussion. And if the family of the mother do so happen to get custody the money the little girl would get should be put up for her until she comes of age. The father may have committed the murder but the girls family since they want to make a big fuss should not get any of the man’s money. Save it for her until she is 25.

  24. As a mom myself if anything ever happened to my husband and I, I would want my mother to care for my daughter over my mother in law any day. I feel a lot of mothers understand that. Also the maternal grandparents lost their daughter b/c someone else decided to be selfish and all they have left of her is their grandbaby. Plus who is going to tell the daughter about her mom when she grows up? I agree paternal grandparents should be in the child’s life but should not have full custody. These are just my emotions talking and I don’t think my feelings will ever change.

  25. I’m going to have to disagree with the both of you! Jovan did the killing! For all we know his mom raised him well his own problems/demons/circumstances caused him to make the decision he did. It is not in Zoey’s best interest to be estranged from her paternal grandma, who has been helping care for her since birth, just because of what her son did. If anything, joint custody should be arranged. His mom in know way should be convicted and ostracized due to his actions. If you listen to that 911 tape, you can hear how emotionally distraught his mom was over Kasandra being shot. That is so ignorant to assume that his mom should not be able to care for her at least part of the time. This baby needs all around love.

  26. I’m not an expert in family law so my opinion is based purely on emotions…i believe Zoey should stay with her maternal grandparents. Although I’m sure Jovan Belchers parents are great grandparents, can you imagine the thought of the family of the man who killed your daughter raise your grandchild. I’m not saying they are bad people for what their son DID…just saying that has to be heartbreaking in itself. I’m sure both sides want the best for the baby and are probably still hurting but Jovan chose to take his life…Kasandra did not. he murdered this woman and left this beautiful baby without a mother. her parents should get permanent custody.

  27. Heartbreaking! I feel it adds insult to injury for the Perkins not to have little Zoe permanently. It is neither families “fault” but because Jovan was a Belcher, I think the public won’t want to see his family care for Zoe since he was responsible.

    Prayers for this little princess!

  28. The baby should go to the Perkins family the Belcher’s raised a murderer. What a slap in the face to give this baby to the family of the man who killed the mother.

    • Not saying Jovan is correct in his actions, however, they did also raised a child who was a pro athlete. Without his income, Zoey wouldn’t have inherited the 3 million for them to fight over. I’m not saying this fight is based on the money, but I’m betting it plays a huge part.

      For the record, I agree the maternal grandparents should raise Zoey, but not for the same reason you stated. Had Kassandra died from other reasons & Jovan also not been alive, her parents would have retained custody.

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