Judge says Millete children will remain with Larry’s parents at family home

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SAN DIEGO — A judge says the children of missing Chula Vista mother Maya Millete will remain under the care of her husband Larry’s parents at their family home, at least for now.

Larry is being held without bail while he faces a charge that he killed his wife.

Maricris Drouaillet, Maya’s sister, had requested temporary custody following Larry’s arrest. But the judge at a hearing in probate court downtown Wednesday morning said the kids should remain for now in a familiar home and community and at a school where they are succeeding.

Drouaillet and her attorney had argued Larry’s parents, Judith and Benito Millete, hadn’t shielded the children from what they described as “manipulation” by their father. Lawyer Scott Finkbeiner said the grandparents had enabled nine hours of jail phone calls to the kids, which violated a court order against Larry contacting his children and resulted in his loss of phone privileges.

“The children are in an extremely fragile emotional state. Larry is preying upon their young minds,” Finkbeiner’s filing on behalf of Drouaillet reads, in part. “Enough is enough. Larry’s actions must be stopped.”

Ultimately the judge determined that the children will remain with their paternal grandparents at least until a guardianship hearing on Jan. 19, 2022, but that some immediate changes need to be made.

Larry’s parents will have to allow relatives from Maya’s side to see the children every Sunday from noon until 5 p.m. The grandparents must also get mental health support for each child immediately, the judge said. They must also ensure the guidelines of the protective order are followed, meaning not allowing Larry any more contact with his children.

The judge said she believes it is in the children’s best interest to remain in the home they grew up in, where their grandparents have been looking after them. She said their bedrooms are familiar to them, the school is a safe space for them and there have been no changes in their behavior, which suggests there is no state of emergency in the home.

A court-appointed guardian has interviewed the two older children and spoken with their teachers, who say the girls are doing well in school, the judge continued. That guardian said she thinks therapy should begin immediately, and also said Larry’s interactions with the children since his arrest have been inappropriate.

While Maya’s family members looked disappointed by the ruling, they did not comment on it under the guidance of their attorney.

“This is a very sensitive case that involves minor children who have been through an extraordinary amount over the course of the last 10 months,” Finkbeiner said. “In our court hearing, the court ordered that neither the paternal grandparents, my client or really anybody else associated with the case is to make any statements to the children about this case or the criminal case.”

The judge said no one should discuss details of the custody or criminal cases directly with the kids, but Finkbeiner said he took it a step further out of an abundance of caution.

“There are 11- and 12-year-old kids who have access to televisions and so what I believe the court intends is that, this should not be discussed,” he said. “These are private issues for minor children, so we will not be making any other statements related to the case, related to the kids.”

Larry has denied any wrongdoing in the case. His attorney said last week that she and her client believe Maya disappeared on her own accord and is still alive.

FOX 5’s Matt Meyer contributed to this report.

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