PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - Family members of the little girl killed in an apparent murder-suicide are now asking why a judge let the man spend time with his daughter unsupervised.
On the day little Kayden Mancuso's body was found in the Manayunk home owned by her biological father, the mood was unbearable sadness. On the day after anger was added to the mix:
"It still doesn't seem real," Kayden's aunt Jennifer Sherlock told FOX 29.
Two of Kayden's aunts appeared on Good Day Philadelphia and said the legal system in an ongoing custody battle had failed the little girl.
"The judge took his time away, but he still let her go unsupervised," aunt Heather Giglio said.
A May custody ruling by Bucks County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Trauger gave Jeffrey Mancuso "partial physical custody" of his daughter every other weekend from Saturday morning to Sunday evening with no court supervision.
This despite findings that Kayden's biological father suffered from "emotional instability," "feelings of hopelessness and suicidal ideation."
The document describes a bar fight on New Year's Day 2012, in which Mancuso said of his fellow combatant: "he put me in a headlock and I bit down on his ear and took off the top part of his ear."
Mancuso was found guilty of aggravated assault and served a year under house arrest. In the document, the court confirms that Mancuso "has...sent offensive comments" to Kayden's teacher and "continued to verbally attack" that teacher.
He was later barred from entering her elementary school.
And, perhaps--most bizarre--the custody ruling includes this note: that Kayden had observed her father, "punching the family dog"...and "punching himself in the face when frustrated or angry."
"Was little Kayden afraid of her dad?" FOX 29's Mike Jerrick asked. Sherlock replied, "She was. On Friday, she said she was scared to see him."
"Unfortunately, in many cases, parents get into battle mode and they want what they want because they want it and they fight for custody," Attorney Lee Schwartz said.
Attorney Lee Schwartz has been practicing family law for 37 years. He says custody cases are even more volatile than the divorce that proceeds them.
"It's a bad brew. It's a bad combination when you're dealing with the stress of seeing your child or not seeing your child. A person who may have some emotional or psychological issue," Schwartz said.
FOX 29 reached out to Judge Trauger for further explanation as to why--given his history--Mancuso was allowed unsupervised custody. The court administrator responded to say that in keeping with court policy the judge could not comment on a pending case.
Anyone wishing to help with funeral expenses can do so by visiting Kayden's GoFundMe.