Wednesday May 09 2012
El Dorado County custody battle rages on after mom's death
By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
Murder suspect's mom, victim's dad fight in court for grandchildren
CAMERON PARK ? While the family of alleged murder victim Rachel Winkler fight for custody of her three children, court records show Winkler appointed her mother in law temporary ?guardianship? of her children. Rachel Winkler was found dead in her Cameron Park home Feb. 27. Her husband, Todd Winkler, 45, remains in custody in El Dorado County Jail, charged with her murder. The victim?s father, Don Hatfield, and her mother-in-law, Janeth Winkler, have been hashing it out in court to gain custody of the three Winkler children. Hatfield, who has temporary custody of the Winkler children, is attempting to gain full custody as is Janeth Winkler, the suspect?s mother. In court documents, murder suspect Todd Winkler claims he would like his mother to have custody of his children, as did his wife at one point. ?On many occasions, the children?s mother, Rachel, also executed nominations for my mother to act as the children? guardian, rather than her father,? according to document filed in El Dorado Superior Court on March 23. According to the court record, Todd Winkler was in London on business (in 2011) where Rachel joined him. Rachel signed a letter on Jan. 28, 2011, indicating that Janeth Winkler was to have ?temporary guardian(ship)? of her two children. Rachel would have been pregnant with her youngest at the time. In court documents, Hatfield, who retains temporary custody of the children, disputes Todd Winkler?s assertion that Rachel nominated Janeth Winkler for guardianship and that the document in question merely allows her the right to make medical decisions for the children. According to court documents, ?a court investigator reports that either the maternal grandfather or the paternal grandmother would be an appropriate guardian.? Todd Winkler has pleaded not guilty and contends the fatal stabbing of his wife, Rachel, was self-defense after she allegedly attacked him with scissors. Winkler?s body was found inside her airpark home. She had been stabbed to death. The couple?s three children were home at the time of the incident. According to Winkler, his wife was wielding a pair of scissors, stabbing him in the hands and thighs. He claims he wrestled the scissors away from her and stabbed her in the throat. Hatfield and Janeth Winkler are scheduled to return to court May 16 for further discussions.