The younger siblings of a Gwinnett County girl who died of starvation last fall will remain in state custody for now.
The parents of 10-year-old Emani Moss, Tiffany and Eman Moss, are charged in her murder and face the death penalty.
Both wanted the other children to live with Pearlie Bashir, Tiffany’s mother and Emani’s step-grandmother.
But Gwinnett County juvenile court Judge Robert Waller has denied placement of the toddlers with either grandmother.
He finds paternal grandmother Robin Moss does not have the financial means to support the children, but was harsher when describing Bashir and her role in the abuse of Emani. The family lived with Bashir on and off for several years up until the girl’s death.
“It is unfathomable to the Court that Ms. B. could not have known that Emani M. was being abused and mistreated at some point between 2010 and October 2013. At best, Ms. B. turned a blind eye to the suffering and, ultimately, to the death of a child who had been living in her home off and on for over three (3) years,” reads his ruling.
While Bashir would not comment on the decision, she testified during hearings in February that she worked seven days a week and didn’t see Emani very often. She claims she saw no signs of abuse.
Wesley Person, attorney for Tiffany Moss, is disappointed with the decision.
“We had hoped that the judge would see differently; we believe that Ms. Bashir would be a proper placement for the children at the time,” he tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.
Person will defend his client when she faces a parental termination hearing in coming weeks.
Robin Moss is still hopeful that either she or her cousin will gain custody of the remaining children and agrees with the judge that Bashir should have known about Emani’s abuse.
“Nobody wants to be responsible for the child that’s lost and they want to slap her on the hand and pat her like it’s OK; but she knows what she did,” says Moss.
She plans to celebrate what would have been her granddaughter’s 11th birthday Wednesday—the first birthday since her death.
“We’re going to the strawberry patch… her favorite place to go and eat strawberries,” says Moss.