CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Three young children, all under age 10, will have to live the rest of their lives without their mother.
In January, Journei, who just turned 1 year old Wednesday, was kidnapped after her father, Jonathan Bennett, shot and killed her mother, Brittany White.
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Bennett was later killed when he was shot after he ambushed Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers.
“I do have them and they keep me going. They give me extra strength,” grandmother Tamekia Taylor said.
Taylor told Channel 9 that 3-year-old Julianna still remembers that day.
“(Bennett) left her there and when she screamed, ‘What did you do to my mommy?' he tells her, ‘Your mommy's dead?,'" Taylor said. “This is what she says all the time. If you talk to her, she will tell you her mommy's dead.
Hours later, Bennett ambushed police at CMPD headquarters, and they returned fire and killed him.
Taylor said her family rushed to Charlotte to get the girls, but authorities wouldn't release them and they were quickly placed in foster care.
“It didn’t matter that I'm Brittany's mom, that those are my grandkids and that they needed to be with family at that time,” Taylor said.
The girls are finally reunited with Taylor and their 8-year old brother Jeremiah in Pittsburgh.
She's their foster parent, but is fighting for full custody, which is a battle legal experts said she could win.
“Especially if children (grew up) together, they want to keep them together,” attorney Stephen Corby said.
In the meantime, Taylor has questions about the violence she said her daughter endured at the hands of Bennett.
Before the murder, White filed for a restraining order against him, saying he had strangled and abused her.
Taylor is fighting to focus on the children.
She said Journei is the spitting image of her mother.
“She's my little Brittany,” Taylor said. “She looks just like Brittany did when she was little. She has Brittany's ways.”
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