The ex-boyfriend of a woman killed in a recent murder-suicide has launched a campaign to get custody of the baby she left behind.
Eric McFarland, a resident of Columbus, said he currently has custody of a 5-year-old son that he and Casey Clark had before her relationship with the alleged shooter, Denis McGibney. He recently retained a lawyer and started an online petition in an effort to keep the two boys together. The petition had 1,372 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon.
“I don’t see how it can be beneficial for these two kids to be separated during this time of loss,” he wrote in a text to the Ledger-Enquirer.
The baby, who was found in the apartment where the murder-suicide occurred, was turned over to the Division of Family and Children Services after the incident, according to Columbus police. McFarland said the child is now with one of Clark’s cousins in Albany, Ga.
Clark’s twin sister, Lacey, has been supporting McFarland’s campaign for custody. Earlier this week, she posted his petition on her Facebook page to gain community support for keeping the brothers in the same home.
“... Signing this petition will hopefully help influence a judge on the decision of the custody for the child,” reads the petition, originally posted by McFarland. “... We are hoping that the child will either go to Casey's twin (Lacey Clark) or to the father of the child's brother (Eric McFarland).”
Columbus police found Clark and McGibney shot to death March 18 at GreyStone Falls apartments, 1701 Williams Court, in reference to a welfare check, according to a news release from the Columbus Police Department.
“Upon the officers arrival they were informed by some friends of Denis McGibney, a resident of the apartments, that they were concerned that something was wrong inside of McGibney’s apartment because they could not get anyone to the door,” according to the news release. “The friends also stated that they could hear a baby crying and that all of McGibney’s vehicles were in the parking lot.”
Walter Jones, a DFCS spokesperson, said state law prohibits him from commenting on a particular case due to privacy concerns.
But, speaking generally, he said the agency tries to place children with relatives. If that doesn’t work out, other options are explored.
He said keeping siblings together is also a high priority.