What Will Happen to the 6 Month Old of the San Bernardino Shooters?

On December 2, 2015, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik left their 6-month-old baby girl with Farook’s mother, saying they had a doctor’s appointment. Farook then stopped by an office party at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif., where he worked as an environmental specialist. He soon left and returned around 11 a.m. with Malik — both were wearing masks and body armor and carrying assault rifles, handguns, and explosives. The married couple proceeded to gun down 14 people and injured 21 others before being killed hours later in a police shootout.

This massacre in itself is horrendous. It affected families, friends and the entire nation.

This young couple, both in their late 20s, lived in nearby Redlands, in a neat suburban neighborhood where they’d been renting for about six months. Their infant daughter was born in May. So the question becomes:  Where will this baby girl go?

Family members have not disclosed any information regarding who would be the baby's guardian.

Under state law, the answer partly depends on whether the parents have a will that names a guardian in the event of their death.  According to California law, just like in Pennsylvania, if there is a proper designation, that person may be appointed as the child’s guardian, subject to court approval. If there is no such designation, then typically someone — usually a grandparent or other relative — will ask the court to be appointed as a guardian ad litem.”

Also, in this situation, looking at the couple’s estate planning or will could give more information about the crime. The court will ask "Did they plan ahead?” When did they do the estate planning — was it shortly before the shootings? The timing of things may open more information about this horrible set of events.”

Given the high-profile nature of the parents’ alleged crime could potentially change the custody outcome. The court will surely examine anyone who comes forward to be appointed as guardian and may ask questions to determine whether he or she knew about the shooters’ intended actions.