FLORIDA CITY, Fla. – The siblings of a 17-year-old boy who is accused of accidentally shooting his younger sister this week on his birthday will stay with relatives for the time being, a judge ordered on Thursday.
"I'm glad that the family stepped up for the children. We don't want to see anyone in foster care," attorney Tarlesha Smith, who is also Santiago's step-aunt, said.
The children's fathers are allowed supervised visits twice a week.
"There's a lot on the children's plate. We're going to do everything possible to assist them," Judge Orlando Prescott said.
Martaevious Santiago is facing a manslaughter charge after police said he accidentally shot and killed his sister, Teddra King, 13, Tuesday night while friend and family were celebrating Santiago's birthday.
Investigators said he was armed with a loaded gun and was playing around with his sister inside their Florida City home.
Police said Teddra gave her brother a hug and started to walk away.
Santiago pointed the gun at the back of her head and pulled the trigger, police said.
Santiago called 911 and tried to help his sister, but it was too late.
"We're saddened by what happened to Teddra King (and) for her father, as well," Smith said. "No one has mentioned him. Ted King is her father. He's not an absent father. Vernon and Ted have taken care of their children."
Santiago's biological father had nothing to say as he left the courthouse Thursday, and neither did any other family members.
Santiago's stepfather, Vernon Williams, said he hopes he can regain custody soon.
"I'm choked up, but yes, I want the kids back as soon as possible," he said.