Family speaks out after girl killed in murder-suicide

This is heartbreaking

Content Editor / November 02 2018

The mother of a seven-year-old girl who was killed by her biological father has spoken out about the devastating impact it has had on her family.

Kayden Mancuso had been on a visit with her father, Jeff Mancuso, one weekend in August 2018, but failed to return home at the appointed time.

Her mother Kathryn, who was separated from Jeff, had sought out restraining orders in the past against him, and did not want him around her daughter, however he was awarded visitation rights every second weekend.

Jeff had a long history of violence, including displaying abusive behavior towards Kathryn, biting a man’s ear off during a fight and punching the family dog in front of his young daughter.

When Kayden failed to return home, Kathryn’s stepdad went to Jeff Mancuso’s house, and found his stepdaughter dead in the living room of her father’s home. She had been struck on the head and suffocated with a plastic bag.

Her 45-year-old father was also found dead in an upstairs bedroom. He had left a note on his daughter's body saying that her family got what they deserved.

Despite the fact that court-ordered evaluations found Jeff Mancuso had a history of violent, harassing and erratic behavior against Sherlock and others, nothing was done to prevent him from seeing Kayden.

“They were ignored,” Kathryn said. “His rights as a parent superseded her right to live.”

Kayden was the 647th child involved in a custody dispute murdered in the U.S. since 2008, Sherlock said.

“One is too many,” she added. “We have to do better. This was 100 percent preventable.”

“The system failed us,” added Kayden’s aunt Heather Giglio. “My sister fought for her custody for years and they didn't listen to us. They let him take her and now she's gone," Giglio said.

Kathryn now runs a nonprofit organization called Kayden’s Korner, which aims to ensure that other children do not suffer the same fate.

Nicola Conville has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 20 years across a wide range of print and online publications. Her areas of expertise are parenting, health and travel. She has two children; Lucy, age eight, and Nathan, age five.

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