"What makes this case particularly sad is the fact that the child has now lost both of her parents. Her father has been killed and her mother faces the justice system," the Queens DA told a news conference after Malakov's wife, Mazoltuv Borukhova, was indicted for allegedly hiring her distant uncle to shoot her estranged husband.This week Michelle, who will turn 5 this Saturday, was at the center of another tug of war between the Malakov and Borukhova families as each prepared to make their case for visitation rights to see the girl during a hearing in family court scheduled Wednesday. The girl was originally placed in the care of Daniel Malakov's parents, Malka and Khaika, following his murder, but she was put in the care of a foster home after Borukhova alleged that her in-laws had beaten Michelle. The child was placed in the foster home indefinitely in November after a Queens Family Court judge deemed Borukhova an unfit mother.Since then only Borukhova has had visitation rights. Malakov's mother, Malka, told reporters last week that she would make the girl happy under her care. "I hope and wish my Michelle will be a Malakov," she said in broken English outside Queens Criminal Court after Borukhova's indictment. "She will be like her father."Borukhova's family refused to comment to reporters. Florence Fass, Borukhova's family law attorney, did not return calls for comment. Michelle's law guardian, David Schnall, said he hopes to find a way to return the girl to her paternal grandparents. He accused the city's Administration for Children's Services of rushing to take her away from them since they had not investigated the incarcerated mother's claims."ACS hasn't even given them the right to communicate. It's been an abomination," he said.ACS prosecutor Tamara Beyda, who is not involved in the case, said ACS case workers are supposed to investigate and report on such allegations, but on some occasions that does not occur until a judge orders it. "That sort of thing happens all the time with ACS, unfortunately. Things slip through the cracks," she said.Nancy Chemtob, a family lawyer in the Manhattan-based law firm of Chemtob, Moss, Forman, and Talbert, said the Malakovs have a strong case for future custody of Michelle as they have not been accused of being detrimental to girl's well-being outside of the abuse allegation."Since the mother is jail and the father is dead, they are the biological guardians of the kid. The family has priority to have the girl," she said. "The main thing they have to argue is that ACS wrongfully may have accused them."
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