The Houston Family Law Blog

Kids Watch Mother Killed by Her Own SUV; Who Gets Kids

The Houston Chronicle reports that during the first week of June, six children watched their mother die when her SUV drove her over and dragged her into a house. According to KHOU, the woman's name was Cherie Rangel. Rangel was viewing a house to buy with her six children when she decided she needed to move her SUV to make room for the real estate agent.

Rangel stood outside the vehicle and put the SUV in drive, asking her 11-year-old daughter to press the brake when it had moved a few inches, reported KHOU. At that point, the 11-year-old mistook the gas for the brake and slammed on the gas, causing the SUV to jump forward, pulling Rangel under the SUV, rolling over her, and then dragging her into the house they were going to view.

After the horror that is watching the death of a parent, these kids have the next horror of determining where they'll be living now. In Texas, as in many states, child custody decisions are made based on the best interest of the children and the relation of the person who desires custody.

According to KHOU, Rangel's children were from both her current marriage and from a prior relationship. This means that there isn't just the simple custody plan of staying with the surviving parent. The ruling would depend on whether Rangel's husband had adopted her other children. If that was the case, then the children will go to Rangel's widower.

However, if he did not adopt the other children, they might go back to their natural father unless the court has already determined that he was a threat to the children's safety.

In any case, this horror story of kids watching the death of their mother does not have a happy ending, but hopefully Cherie Rangel's children can stay together to get through this with one another.

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