GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — Two girls who were kidnapped after their mother was killed in Round Rock are headed out of foster care to live with family, for now. A custody hearing Thursday established a transition between their current foster home and temporary placement with an uncle and aunt.
The girls, ages 8 and 14, have been in state custody since January, when their mother, Tonya Bates, was found murdered in their Round Rock home and the girls were found in Colorado with their mother’s roommate, Terry Miles. He now faces federal kidnapping charges.
Josef Scheffler, Bates’ common-law husband, is seeking custody of the 8-year-old girl because Bates’ will indicated that’s what she wanted and the girl’s biological father is homeless in Seattle. Her 14-year-old sister’s father lives in Louisiana.
At Thursday’s hearing, the Department of Family and Protective Services, as well as attorneys ad litem for the girls, argued Scheffler is not an appropriate guardian because he has a pending aggravated assault charge, filed by Bates last October.
The judge also wants to grant both biological fathers time to establish their interest in parental rights. In the meantime, the girls will move in with their uncle and aunt in Arkansas. That couple has also expressed interest in permanent custody of the children.
The next custody hearing is set for June 21.