The family feud over the kidnapping and killing of 4-year-old Cash Gernon has gotten so acrimonious that his parents are now fighting over the funeral.
The boy’s father, Trevor Gernon, who left Cash and his twin Carter with a friend for weeks before the slaying, wants to pay his respects before he turns himself in to police on outstanding drug charges, his sister told The Daily Beast.
“My brother wants to just say goodbye to his son and put him to rest, and this has just been really difficult to figure out,” Ashlee Marcoux said in a phone interview.
But, Marcoux said, Cash’s mother, Melinda Seagroves, who now has custody of Carter, is refusing to let her ex participate because she blames him for the boy’s violent end.
“We feel like we’re in this stalemate, just stuck,” Marcoux said.
Gernon had been taking care of both boys when he left Houston for Dallas, where he hooked up with a friend, Monica Sherrod. When he bolted from Dallas under a cloud of legal problems, he left them with her because, he said, he didn’t want to “disrupt their routine.”
On May 15, an intruder broke into the home and snatched Cash from his bed while Carter slept next to him. Two hours later, the child was found stabbed to death on the street. Police have arrested an acquaintance of the Sherrod family, 18-year-old Darriynn Brown, for kidnapping and burglary, but they have not charged him with murder or released a motive.
For more than a week after the killing, Gernon was not heard from and his whereabouts were unknown. But on Sunday night, his sister released a recorded statement in which he apologized for leaving the boys and said he will never forgive himself.
“This choice I made with the best of intentions has resulted in a most horrific outcome,” he said.
Seagroves and her mother, Connie Ward, did not respond to a request for comment. They have told reporters that she was trying to find the kids before the kidnapping, although Marcoux claims Seagroves actually knew where the boys were staying.
“We’ve never really had a great relationship with the biological mom’s side of the family, and this has not made it any better,” Marcoux told The Daily Beast in the family’s first interview since the crime.
Marcoux said she and her parents are eager to “work with Mindy’s family,” referring to Seagroves by her nickname.
“We talked to a funeral home and they said both parents have to give consent for funeral proceedings before they can even take a child into their care,” Marcoux said. “So we want to work with them to just put him to rest, but the family isn't cooperating with us at all. They're just sending nasty messages. They blame my brother; they blame my mother for not taking them instead.”
Gernon has an open warrant out for his arrest from a drug possession bust about six months ago, his sister said, adding that he “just needed more time to get himself together and didn’t turn himself in and it just kept snowballing from there.”
The plan, she said, was for him and the boys to move to Houston so they could be closer to their grandmother. Marcoux said she was planning to move back to Houston from the home she shares with her husband in Vermont in order to help care for Cash and Carter.
“And then this happened,” she said through tears.
Marcoux doesn’t know exactly where her brother is now, saying only that he has not left Texas. Gernon has called the detectives working on the case, and asked if he could help the investigation in any way, but never got a call back, according to Marcoux, who thinks his going to jail might be the “best thing for him to find the help that he needs for sobriety.”
“We’ve just been trying to figure out how to handle this and see if he can just have some sort of agreement in place to attend the funeral,” Marcoux said. “Or at least be able to see Cash before he goes and turns himself in.”
She conceded that Gernon has made bad decisions—his record includes arrests for drug possession, vehicle theft, check fraud, and assaulting his father during an argument over a credit card bill—but said that he “has a huge heart.”
“I know him, and if he was an actual shitty person and I didn’t think that he treated [his boys] well, I would not be on the phone with you right now, I wouldn't have posted that statement, I would have disassociated from him,” she said. “But I know his heart and I know who he is—he’s a good person, he’s just made some stupid choices.”