Special Reports

Brame children stay put for now

The two orphaned children of David and Crystal Brame will continue to stay with their maternal grandparents, for now.

Pierce County Court Commissioner Mary Dicke agreed Thursday to an order that allows Crystal Brame's parents, Lane and Patty Judson, to keep custody of Haley, 8, and David Jr., 5, until the family begins formal guardianship proceedings.

The Judsons got a temporary custody order days after the Tacoma police chief fatally wounded his wife and then killed himself April 26.

"At that point, we were hoping that Crystal would get better," attorney Joe Lombino said. "That order was meant to put some sort of stability in place for the kids.

"With their father dead and their mother in critical condition, they were in limbo. We tried to take the limbo away."

Thursday's order formalized the arrangement after Crystal Brame's death May 3.

No one has contested the custody. Thursday's hearing was a short one, with only Lombino appearing before the judge.

The Judsons will begin guardianship proceedings soon, Lombino said. They have said that eventually Crystal's sister, Julie Ahrens, and her husband, David, will raise the children.

Crystal and David Brame's wills name Julie Ahrens as the person they wanted to take care of their children if something happened to them.

Lombino said he'll use the children's counselor to help him make decisions because some issues in the guardianship - such as time the children will spend with David Brame's parents, Eugene and Beverly - are sensitive.

"Whatever needs to be done to further their emotional development is what's going to be taking place," Lombino said. "We'll have to rely on the wisdom of the counselor and the wisdom of the court."

Lombino said the Judsons, with Julie Ahrens' help, are trying to make the children's lives as normal as possible.

Karen Hucks: 253-597-8660