Father awarded rights of Milwaukee girl’s remains after 2-month legal battle with mother

Amina Krouser

MILWAUKEE -- A two-month long fight over a 14-year-old Milwaukee girl's remains finally comes to an end. During that time, the girl's body has been at the city morgue.

The victim's mother, Aziyza Ababneh, is charged in her daughter's death with child neglect. But under state la, she doesn't forfeit her parental rights unless she is charged with homicide. The girl's father wants their child cremated -- the mother says that goes against her religious beliefs. In court Friday, February 9th, the judge said the case isn't about religion.

Azyza Ababneh

"This is an exceedingly unusual case, in fact it might be the first in the State of Wisconsin," said Judge David Borowski.

David Borowski

Calling the circumstances the most disheartening he's ever presided over, Judge David Borowski weighed one parent's behavior against the other's to to determine who gets legal control over their deceased daughter's remains.

"In this case I'm left with the options bad and worse," said Borowski.

In December 2017, 14-year-old Amina Krouser died from a brain infection. Court documents show Ababneh waited several days to get medical help for her sick daughter. Instead, she's accuse of punishing Amina.

Azyza Ababneh

While the mother declined to take the stand, the girl's father, Michael Krouser, flew up from Texas to testify.

Michael Krouser

"You want her cremated to honor her surviving siblings' wishes?" asked Krouser's attorney, Beth Lauck.

Krouser answered, "Yes."

Ababdeh's lawyer attacked Krouser's absence in his children's lives.

"When was the last time you saw your children? I haven't seen my kids in ten years," said Ababdeh's lawyer, Scott Anderson.

The judge ultimately ruled in favor of the father, noting that he has already taken steps to lay his daughter to rest.

The judge also had a message for the state legislature: he wants the loophole in the law closed that allows a person charged with child neglect to still be able to have parental rights over a child's remains.

The criminal case is scheduled to head to trial in June.