ONLY ON WWAY: Family fights for custody of child after mother murdered


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A few months ago a New Hanover County mother was killed leaving her three-year-old son behind.

Now, his grandmother is fighting for custody but says it’s an uphill battle.

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Christine Fullwood lost her daughter to a violent murder, then lost her grandson the following day.

“DSS was there and DSS said ‘We are taking Dustin.’ and I’m like ‘Why?'” Fullwood said.

In April, Christine’s daughter Brittany Fullwood was killed at they home they shared.

William Bernicki is charged with Brittany’s murder.

“People had called in to their office, they were inundated with calls about Christine Fullwood,” Fullwood said.

She says DSS took Dustin away from her after these callers said she was a bad grandmother and violent. Those accusations she said shocked her.

She has limited visitation with her grandchild which are moments she says she cherishes.

“It’s like the best feeling in the world, ” Fullwood said. “I just wanted to cry. I tried to hold back the tears as much as I could cause I didn’t want to upset him but I just wanted to hold him and I didn’t want to let go of him and he didn’t want to let go of me either.”

DSS allowed her to see Dustin four times in the past four months. the last time she saw him was at this Dunkin’ Donuts. but she says at this rate, she doesn’t even know if she’ll get custody of her grandson.

The law already limits grandparents rites. Attorney Al Clyburn says DSS’ actions are standard.

“If reports are made about our children, it is their job, it’s their responsibility to investigate those reports and to make sure that the children are safe,” Clyburn said.

The only way it will change is after the DSS investigation.

“If DSS investigates and they determine that there’s no risk involved, they will close the case, they will send a letter to the folks involved and that’ll be the end of the matter,” Clyburn said.

Christine has an attorney and says she will keep fighting

Christine Fullwood has a court date next week to try and get custody.

Her ex-husband, Brittany’s father, lives out of state, but is also reaching out to lawmakers about the situation.