Parents accused of killing oldest daughter in custody battle for younger children

by: Tony Thomas Updated:

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GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. —

Two Gwinnett County parents accused of starving their child to death are now trying to control custody of their other children.

Eman and Tiffany Moss appeared in juvenile court Tuesday to oppose Eman's mother from taking the children to live with her in Newton County.

Channel 2's Tony Thomas was the only reporter in the court as the drama played out.

Thomas says for now, the two children, ages 1 and 3, will remain in a foster home as the state tries to decide what is in their best interest. Both grandmothers are seeking custody of the children.

In court, the attorneys for Eman and Tiffany hammered away at the reasons they believe grandmother Robin Moss should not be allowed to intercede in the custody battle.

The lawyers insisted the 51-year-old did not have any income, reliable transportation or a home big enough to bring in and care for two growing toddlers. Attorney Wesley Person also said Moss was not close with the children.

"What is (name withheld)'s favorite color?" asked Moss.

"I don't know what her favorite color is. That's why I said I want to get to know them," said the grandmother.

"What's (name withheld)'s favorite color?" Moss asked about the second child.

"I don't know, but I know he loves cars," the grandmother responded.

Moss told the judge she ultimately wants to adopt the two children if the state will allow.

"I want them with me. Christmas is almost here and I want to spend time with my grandchildren," she said.

Both Robin Moss and the children's maternal grandmother sat side by side in the small juvenile courtroom. Both want custody.

A few feet away, the two accused of murder were seen outside of the jail for only the second time since their arrests.

Prosecutors are deciding whether to seek the death penalty after the two allegedly starved 10-year-old Emani Moss to death over a period of weeks, then tried to burn her body in a trashcan to hide the crime.

Emani lived with Robin Moss for part of her life before the Division of Family and Children's Services directed her back to live with her father and stepmother.

The children's maternal grandmother never spoke in court today since neither parent objected to her involvement.

For now, the children remain in the custody of the same state agency that has fired or punished seven workers for lack of action in Emani's case.

"I don't want my grandchildren in the system. They shouldn't be in the system." Robin Moss told the judge.

Judge Robert Waller has ordered a private investigator to look at both of the grandmothers' living conditions. He has set a January hearing to determine, along with DFCS, where the children should live.

Eman and Tiffany Moss remain jailed in the Gwinnett County Detention Center. A grand jury is expected to hear a proposed indictment against them in the next few weeks.