Doctor: Winkler's Oldest Daughter Afraid Of Her - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Doctor: Winkler's Oldest Daughter Afraid Of Her

Jim Todd Jim Todd
Mary Winkler Mary Winkler
Matthew Winkler Matthew Winkler
Dan and Diane Winkler Dan and Diane Winkler

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The custody battle over Mary Winkler's children is heating up.

In a recent court filing over visitation, a doctor testified that Winkler's oldest daughter is afraid of her mother.

Winkler was convicted in the shooting death of her husband, Matthew Winkler.

Their three daughters have been living with grandparents Dan and Diane Winkler for the past two years.

Mary Winkler wants to regain custody of the girls.

"I long for the day when Dan and Diane will sit down and talk with me and let us please work this out," Mary Winkler said during a court hearing earlier this fall.

In November, after this court hearing, Winkler was granted supervised visitation with the girls.

But the Winklers don't want her to see the children.

"Basically they are taking out their ace and they are using it in this appeal in effort to get the attention of the Supreme Court to say look, this is how serious this is," said Jim Todd, a Nashville attorney. "This is how this is harming the child.

Todd is not involved, but he has followed the case.

The court filing indicates that the children exhibit fear and confusion toward their mother and her role in their father's death.

A doctor testified that the 9-year-old girl said, "She killed my father. I don't know if she will kill me. I want to ask her if she will do that to me. It scares me, kind of, if she did. Well, I guess I would see my father."

"It is alarming the daughter is making this statement," Todd said. "It is some ammunition for the Winklers to put in their clip to use against Mary."

He said the Winklers must convince the court their former daughter-in-law is a threat to her children.

Dan Winkler testified that her phone calls to the girls triggered flashbacks and sparked sleeping problems that included graphic nightmares and sleepwalking.

The girls are 2, 7, and 9.

The court appointed them a legal guardian who will assess what's best for the children -- independent of Mary or the grandparents -- and report to the court.

The custody case is slowly moving through the courts.

Under the law it's very likely Winkler will someday regain custody unless she is proven a threat, according to Todd.

Winkler lives in McMinnville and works at a local nursery.

Her children live in West Tennessee.

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