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Court appoints attorney for Paul Walker's daughter

Created: 05/01/2014 5:57 AM
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge appointed an independent attorney for Paul Walker's daughter Wednesday to help determine who will raise the teenager in the wake of her father's death last year.

Superior Court Commissioner David Cowan refused to dismiss a guardianship case, citing an investigator's report that detailed issues with Meadow Rain Walker's mother having custody of the 15-year-old. The report is confidential and Cowan did not elaborate on the issues contained in the report.

Paul Walker, the star of the "Fast & Furious" film franchise, died in a car crash in November. His will called for his mother, Cheryl Ann Walker, to serve as guardian of his daughter, but she later asked for her petition to be dismissed. Attorneys said Wednesday that she had reached an agreement with Meadow Walker's mother, Rebecca Jo Soteros, on who will care for her, but Cowan said he wasn't comfortable with dismissing the case yet.

He said Soteros was not in a position to take custody of her daughter "given where she's living at this time." He did not elaborate, but Cheryl Walker's guardianship petition said Soteros had an alcohol problem.

"Meadow would still need to have a guardian," Cowan said. The teenage was in court but did not speak.

Soteros has hired an attorney to object to Cheryl Walker's petition, but a formal objection has not been filed.

Cowan said he would decide what to do with the case once he reviews a report prepared by Meadow Walker's court-appointed attorney. He set another hearing in the case for May 28.

Cheryl Walker's attorney Steven Bledsoe said his client had "great love" for her granddaughter, but acknowledged that the teenager has expressed wishes to have someone serve as her caretaker. Her preference was not expressed in court, but her mother's attorney, Fern Wender, said she was also representing the teenager.

Cowan said while he wasn't making any findings on Wednesday, he would need guidance on whether it was appropriate for Wender to represent both Soteros and Meadow Walker, and he also needed an update on Paul Walker's estate.

Walker's estate case is being handled by a court in Santa Barbara, Calif. The actor's estate has been valued between $16 million and $25 million, and his daughter is the sole beneficiary according to court filings.

(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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