San Bernardino Shooters' Orphaned Baby Stuck in Sad Limbo

'Washington Post' reports on custody case
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2016 12:39 PM CST
San Bernardino Shooters' Orphaned Baby Stuck in Sad Limbo
Syed Rizwan Farook's brother Syed Raheel Farook, left, brother-in-law Farhan Khan, second from left, and mother Rafia Farook, third from left, leave the house of the husband and wife who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif.   (Will Lester/The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin via AP)

A heartbreaking piece in the Washington Post delves into the story of the then-6-month-old girl left behind by the San Bernardino shooters, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, before they killed 14 people at an office party and then died in a shootout with police. Farook's sister and brother-in-law, Saira and Farhan Khan, have spent the past 11 months attempting to gain custody of the girl, who they saw about once a week for the first six months of her life. For two months after the shooting, they weren't allowed to see her at all; for a few months after that, they were only allowed irregular, heavily supervised visits at a child-care office. Now, they are allowed regular, six-hour-long visits in their own home, where the now-toddler seems to enjoy playing with her cousins and often cries when it's time to leave.

But there's been no word on when a custody decision might be expected, and the toddler remains in the care of a foster family. When the Khans saw her again for the first time, she was malnourished and withdrawn—she had gone from breastfeeding to being fed formula from a bottle, among all the other changes to her life—but she is now healthy, smiling and laughing with her aunt during their visits. Meanwhile, the Khans, who have lost friends over their relationship to the shooters, are left to wonder how they couldn't have seen the terrorist attack coming. And, perhaps the even more difficult question: "What kind of parent makes plans to abandon their child?" Saira says. "How were they capable of something like that and we didn’t know?" Click for the Post's full piece. (More San Bernardino shooting stories.)

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