The sister of an Anne Arundel County woman who was murdered along with her husband by their adopted son has given up her custody battle for the couple's 9-year-old daughter.
Helen Rodden of Indianapolis withdrew her objections last week to family friends of Kathryn and Bob Swartz becoming Ann Swartz's legal guardians.
The Swartzes had listed Rodden as the girl's legal guardian in their 1982 will. But after the parents were axed and stabbed to death in their Cape St. Claire, Md., home on Jan. 16, 1984, by Larry Swartz, then 17, a judge named James and Eileen Smithmyer as the girl's temporary guardians. The Smithmyers, who live on the Eastern Shore, were close friends of the Swartzes.
The Smithmyers sought permanent custody, saying that Ann considers herself part of their family of seven children and should not be uprooted.
Rodden did not explain in the brief court document why she withdrew her objection to the Smithmyers gaining custody of Ann. She had earlier argued that her sister's will should be followed.
The final decision of whether to award the Smithmyers permanent custody of the girl rests with Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge James C. Cawood.
Larry Swartz pleaded guilty April 18 to two counts of second-degree murder and is serving a 12-year sentence at the Patuxent Institution in Jessup.