Zoey Belcher was orphaned after her father, Jovan Belcher, killed her mother and himself. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
A Kansas City court has awarded custody of the nine-month-old daughter of the late Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher and Kassandra Perkins to a cousin of her murdered mother, according to the Kansas City Star.
Jackson County Probate Commissioner Daniel Wheeler decreed Sophie Perkins as guardian of Zoey Belcher, six months after her father shot her mother to death, then committed suicide at the Chiefs' headquarters at Arrowhead Stadium. Jovan Belcher's mother, Cheryl Shepherd, also filed for custody.
From the Star:
“Both parties are appropriate to serve as guardian,” Wheeler wrote in his order.
But, he added, “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.
“The other party, and the other interested persons, will retain the critical role of family members,” Wheeler added.
As previously reported by USA Today, Zoey's guardian could be in line to control millions.
Between her father's estate – personal property valued at $799,119.85, according to court records – and insurance and other benefits, Zoey will have considerable financial support. She'll receive at least $1 million from the NFL as she grows up, under terms of the collective bargaining agreement, atop a life insurance payment of $1.2 million, and money from savings accounts set up through the league. The Chiefs also established a trust fund, with contributions from chairman Clark Hunt and the players.
Wheeler ruled that Zoey's inherited funds would be managed by a corporate fiduciary
serving as conservator.