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(Photo: Christine Fullwood)

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.

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.

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Comment on this Story

  • Dawn Williams

    I’ve stayed VERY quiet about this situation, until this article. You should really research Kris’s story before you write an article. She has been found unfit before and will again. The people that have Dustin right now are NOT trying to keep him from her and never would. This is ridiculous.

    • Raymond Fullwood

      Get your facts right! Kristine was never found unfit before and should not now. Kris contacted DSS about Dustin’s safety when Brittany was caught using drugs again when he was 6 months old, that does not mean she was found unfit. You can go on believing all the false accusations made against Kris, but after 37 years I can say I know Kris better than any of you. I also knew my daughter Brittany better than anyone. Let this happen to you when you have grandchildren and see how you feel after people call DSS on you with lies and not be allowed to defend yourself, especially after your son or daughter was just murdered and the remaining parent gives up his or her rights to your grandchild. I think when this is all over, there will be some defamation charges for people to face in court, then we will see how ridiculous this is.

    • Addie Adamec

      Yeah well DAWN you should most likely continue to be quiet because you evidently do not know the whole story. Who are you anyway? Let me guess you are one of the people who have made false accusations against Kris? Stop trying to sound like you know any of us because we do not know you. Which means you are spreading , let me guess hearsay?

  • Doug

    As an attorney, I think it’s worth pointing out that the law affords a lot of (constitutionally guaranteed) rights to parents when there’s DSS involvement with their children. If the kids’ parents make their wishes known, and they don’t want the kids to have contact with the grandparents, the courts are required to give a lot of deference to the parents’ wishes. As long as the parents are pushing for an appropriate placement for the kid, grandparents can’t dictate who the kid goes with. This is doubly true if there are allegations that the grandparents would be inappropriate caregivers. I don’t know anything about this case, but I suspect that there’s a good reason that this grandma has limited visitation – not for nothing, but DSS the kid wouldn’t have been taken from grandma of a Court didn’t find compelling evidence to do so.

    • Kim Fullwood Waner

      Doesn’t explain why other family members have sent all paperwork and information requested to DSS to get custody to keep my nephew with our family. DSS has done nothing with any of it. We have not been contacted by our local agency in Maryland like they said we would. Instead they are focused to keep my nephew with a non family member. As for his Grandmother, all DSS has is what people are saying with no proof. As for my sister not wanting her mother to have Dustin, she wrote that letter when she was mad at her mother. My sisters diary was found where she stated she tried getting that letter back from the person but that person refused to give it to her. So that shows what kind of person she is who has my nephew. I am just stunned of how this case is being handled.

    • Raymond Fullwood

      Obviously, you don’t know much about this case, and your generalizations about DSS and “the kid” my grandson, Dustin, and his grandma, my ex-wife, Kris, don’t help in understanding what is happening here. DSS is doing an impartial investigation and only looking at the negative and false accusations made against Kris and not allowing her to defend herself against these accusations. , And as to Dustin’s parents wishes where he should be placed, the father has relinquished all rights to Dustin and Brittany, my murdered daughter, Dustin’s mother, had stated she wanted Dustin to be with the current caregiver but later changed her mind as stated in her diary. Now since Kris, Dustin’s grandmother is the closest blood relative wants custody of him DSS is fighting against this despite all positive letters, background check, character references and chooses to believe the false accusations received by DSS.

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