Murdered mother's 3 small children caught in middle of custody battle
BATON ROUGE - It's been more than two weeks since 25-year old Tannya Moreau was allegedly shot and killed by her husband at her Central home. Now, her parents are fighting to get custody of the three kids she left behind.
Ashanti Witherspoon and his wife Susan Witherspoon, Tannya's mother, said the past two weeks have been horrific. Their grandchildren are 4 years old, 2 years old and 6 months old.
Her mother fought back tears Thursday describing what it's been like having to explain to Tannya's oldest that his mom isn't coming home.
"He kept asking me if I could call his mom," Susan Witherspoon said. "I told him I can't. Finally I said just look up and yell as loud as you can, 'momma I love you.' And whenever he did he was ok for a little while."
Tannya was shot and killed at a home on Blackwater Road on Feb. 7, 2021. Initially, detectives reported that her death was a possible suicide, but new forensic evidence came forward this week showing it would have been impossible for Tannya to shoot herself that way. Her husband, Luke Moreau was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
Rahsha Williams is a close family friend. Tannya grew up with her kids.
"She was a beautiful girl," Williams said. "Loved life, and I know one thing: she really loved her children."
Williams said Tannya did a good job not telling her closest family and friends about the abuse she endured. But some neighbors knew, along with others.
"A lot of times we don't want to get involved," Williams said. "But keeping somebody alive, that is your business. If someone is being abused you've got to remember they are a victim, especially when children are involved. Those kids were in the home the night he shot her. If you can't do it for the adult, do it for the child."
Tannya's stepdad echoed those sentiments.
"It's important for anyone in a situation taking place, to where it might lead to violence or what have you, to step forward and say something," Ashanti Witherspoon said. "We didn't even know this was going on in her life."
As Tannya is no longer here, the grief is unbearable for her family and a son-in-law they once loved.
"I've asked god to give me forgiveness to him," Susan Witherspoon said. "Not to have bitterness and hate in my heart for him, because he took one of the most precious things in the world from us. I ask God to help me to be able to forgive him."
In a complex custody situation, the state named Tannya's parents "foster parents" of their grandchildren until formal custody paperwork can be completed.
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