A judge ordered Wednesday that the paternal grandparents of a missing Chula Vista woman’s three children should allow the kids to visit with their mother’s side of the family, as a legal battle over the children’s guardianship unfolds amid their father’s arrest.
The children of May “Maya” Millete and Larry Millete have remained in the care of Larry Millete’s parents since his arrest last month on suspicion of murdering his wife, who has been missing for more than 10 months. Millete, who prosecutors allege killed his wife after she sought a divorce, remains jailed without bail.
In court filings, May Millete’s sister, Maricris Drouaillet, has petitioned for temporary guardianship of the children, ages 11, 10 and 5.
Drouaillet’s attorney, Scott Finkbeiner, argued in court Wednesday that Larry Millete’s parents do not have the children’s best interests in mind and that guardianship should lie with their aunt.
The attorney said Millete’s parents have neglected the children’s mental health needs and emotional well-being in the wake of their mother’s Jan. 7 disappearance.
Finkbeiner said the grandparents have failed to obtain therapy for the children since May Millete vanished and have allowed their father to violate a court order prohibiting him from contacting the children since his arrest.
At his arraignment, Millete was ordered against contacting the children, then made as many as 129 calls to his parents from jail, and allegedly spoke with the children for a period of around nine hours during some of those phone calls. Drouaillet, as well as prosecutors, have alleged that during these phone calls, Millete has made disparaging remarks about his wife’s side of the family and asked the children to read him news articles regarding his murder case.
It is unclear whether Millete’s parents were aware of the criminal protective order restricting contact between Millete and the children, even through third parties.
Finkbeiner also alleged that Larry Millete and his parents have kept the children away from their mother’s side of the family.
May Millete’s parents filed a petition for grandparent visitation in May and an agreement was reached in September that they would have weekly, in-person visits. Despite that agreement, Drouaillet alleges in court papers that “Larry never intended on facilitating visitation.”
She says the children have not seen any relatives from their mother’s side since Jan. 7 and have only spoken to relatives on that side once during a phone call.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Julia Kelety ordered that Larry Millete’s parents facilitate visitation with the maternal side of the family and work to obtain mental health services for the children. The visitations come with an order from Kelety prohibiting relatives from discussing any details with the children regarding either the ongoing criminal or probate cases.
The judge declined to make a decision Wednesday regarding guardianship, but a hearing was set for January to revisit the issue.
However, Kelety did question whether it would be optimal to uproot the children from their home and school in Chula Vista, if Drouaillet was given guardianship. Drouaillet currently lives outside of the county, but Finkbeiner told the judge that she would be willing to relocate to San Diego County in order to give the children as much stability as possible.
Larry Millete and his parents responded to Drouaillet’s guardianship petition with a brief written objection, which states that Drouaillet is “not a good fit” to be the children’s guardian and that “it is not in the children’s best interest.”
Larry Millete is due back in a criminal courtroom on Dec. 16. The investigation into the alleged murder and May Millete’s whereabouts remains ongoing.
City News Service contributed to this article.