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Harnett County judge grants order in accused Craigslist killer custody fight

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From: Fayetteville Observer……..

LILLINGTON – A Harnett County judge granted an order Monday for Pennsylvania social services records in a custody battle between accused killer Miranda Barbour and her family.

Heather Williams, a lawyer who represents Barbour’s aunt and uncle, said District Court Judge Robert W. Bryant Jr.’s decision could help spur a temporary custody hearing in the coming weeks .Arlin and LaRae Fletcher, the relatives, filed a custody motion for Barbour’s 19-month-old daughter in December after Pennsylvania authorities charged the former Coats teenager and her husband in the Nov. 11 killing of a man police said they met on Craigslist.

After Barbour’s arrest, a Pennsylvania social services agency gave custody of the child to Barbour’s father, Sonny Dean, who lives in Texas.

Williams said she received Dean’s custody order Monday morning and would review the decision for possible jurisdictional conflicts.

“I’ve just been handed by the clerk some order that I was trying to get out of Pennsylvania that places the child with the grandaddy, so I need to review that and see if there is some jurisdictional issue or not,” Williams said.

In a jailhouse interview earlier this month, Barbour said she killed at least 22 people as part of a satanic cult. Some of the alleged murders may have been in North Carolina, Sunbury, Pa., Police Chief Steve Mazzeo said.

Barbour, 19, lived with the Fletchers for about 18 months before she and her husband, Elytte Barbour, a 22-year-old Coats native, abruptly moved to Pennsylvania in October.

Bryant, the judge, quickly granted Williams’ motions to waive mandatory mediation talks and the order for social services records Monday.

Mediation is often waived when a party is more than 50miles away, Williams said.

Williams was the only lawyer present at the hearing. The Fletchers were not in court.

Bryant asked several questions about the relationship between Barbour and the Fletchers and how long the former Coats resident lived in Harnett County.

He probed the possibility of finding the father of Barbour’s child.

“Unknown,” Williams told the court. “Unknown and/or believed to be deceased.”

No father is listed on the child’s birth certificate.

In a handwritten letter from Barbour to the court, Barbour adamantly defends the decision to place her child in Dean’s custody.

If Williams receives the social services records and no judicial authority problems are found, Williams said, a temporary custody hearing could be set in the next few weeks.

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