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Custody Battle Erupts Over Dead Boy’s Sister

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The strange case of Cecil Turner, the toddler found dead near his Mission Viejo home, took another turn this week when a custody battle erupted over his sister.

The boy’s nude body was found in a ravine a day after he reportedly wandered away from his Mission Viejo home. Police have not determined the cause of death.

The boy’s father, Maxwell Turner of Indianapolis, was then given custody of the surviving daughter, Bryttnie, 4. But last week, as Turner and Bryttnie went to Cecil’s native Texas for his funeral, Turner was handed a court order giving temporary custody of Bryttnie to his ex-wife’s parents, Cecil and Carolyn Morrow of Austin.

Deputy Public Defender Lee Blumen, who has been representing Turner in Orange County, said the Texas judge probably was unaware that a judge in Orange County had granted Turner custody. Blumen said he was confident that Turner would prevail.

A Texas judge has scheduled a hearing for Thursday morning to determine whether the change of custody will be permanent.

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Cecil’s mother, Edith Marie Wu, told investigators that Cecil apparently wandered from the family’s apartment while she was sleeping and her husband was out for a jog. They were questioned by police after Cecil’s death, but no charges have been filed. Further tests will try to determine how the youngster died.


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