Anna “Chickadee” Cardwell’s two daughters, Kaitlyn and Kylee, were by her side when she died from stage 4 adrenal cancer on December 9, 2023. But who will get custody of the girls after the TLC star’s passing?
Who Are Anna ‘Chickadee’ Cardwell’s Daughters?
Kaitlyn Elizabeth Shannon was Anna’s eldest daughter. She was born on July 26, 2012, and was 11 years old at the time of her mom’s death. Anna never publicly revealed the identity of Kaitlyn’s father.
Kylee Madison Cardwell was Anna’s youngest daughter. She was born on December 9, 2015, and turned 8 years old on the same day that her mom died. Kylee’s father is Anna’s ex-husband, Michael Cardwell, who the Here Comes Honey Boo Boo star was married to from 2014 until 2017.
Before her death, Anna got to celebrate Kaitlyn graduating from elementary school and Kylee finishing first grade in May 2023. “I am one proud mama right now and I also can’t believe I am going to have a middle schooler and a second grader,” she wrote on Facebook. “Give me a minute while I go cry my eyes out. I am so proud of my girls and everything they have accomplished.”
Who Has Custody of Anna ‘Chickadee’ Cardwell’s Kids?
Anna’s mother, June “Mama June” Shannon, reportedly took Kaitlyn in after Anna’s death, according to a December 12, 2023, report from TMZ. The site claimed that Mama June “plans to become Kaitlyn’s legal guardian” because they have a very “close bond.”
Meanwhile, Kylee is reportedly living with her father after Anna’s death. This plan was reportedly put in place at some point after Anna was diagnosed with cancer in January 2023, according to TMZ.
Eldridge Toney, whom Anna married before she died, reportedly plans to remain involved in both girls’ lives, as well.
On December 17, 2023, Michael filed a lawsuit against Mama June for custody of Kaitlyn, In Touch confirmed. He argued that he has “fully and completely undertaken a permanent, unequivocal, committed, and responsible parental role” in Kaitlyn’s life and has “engaged in consistent caretaking of the child and established a bonded and dependent relationship with the child,” according to court documents obtained by In Touch on December 19. He noted that he was and still is paying for Kaitlyn’s schooling and has become close with the pre-teen.
Michael also claimed that Kaitlyn’s biological father was a man named Caleb Clark, but the man never took a DNA test and has not supported Anna or Kaitlyn in any way. Meanwhile, he pointed to Anna’s complicated relationship with Mama June as the reason why she is not a suitable guardian for Kaitlyn.
“Anna has been raised by her maternal grandmother in Griffin, Georgia, since she was approximately eight years old and only returned to the home of June Shannon when she was 17,” the court docs read. “Anna has had a very sordid relationship with her mother throughout her life and went various periods of time without speaking to her. Likewise, June’s presence in the minor child’s life has been inconsistent.”
The court documents concluded, “Petitioner is the only living person that has shown a constant and continuous interest in the minor child’s well-being, and being in the custody of the petitioner will be in the child’s best interest.”
Mama June was served the papers on the same day, according to the docs. However, she claimed in a statement to TMZ on December 18, 2023, that she had not received any legal papers. She also promised to “see [Michael] in court” and insisted that Kaitlyn wanted to stay with her and her husband, Justin Stroud. Mama June also claimed that it was Anna’s wish for Kaitlyn to stay with her.
“At the end of the day, the girls have lost their mother so why put them through this,” she added.
At the beginning of January 2024, Mama June was granted emergency temporary custody of Kaitlyn. A judge ruled in favor of Mama June getting temporary custody over Michael, who said he will continue to pursue custody of the teenager. Kaitlyn will remain with her grandmother until there is a court hearing at a later date.
Later that same month, In Touch confirmed that Mama June filed documents accusing Michael of physically abusing Anna during their marriage, which made him an unsuitable guardian for Kaitlyn.
“During his marriage to Anna, Plaintiff [Michael] frequently physically abused Anna and the child and it would not be in the child’s best interests to be in the Plaintiff’s care and control,” Mama June claimed in her legal documents on January 15.
In her filing, she asked for “sole legal and physical custody” of Kaitlyn and for Michael’s petition to be denied and dismissed.
How Did Anna ‘Chickadee’ Cardwell Die?
Anna was diagnosed with stage 4 adrenal cancer in January 2023. She underwent chemotherapy and fought the illness for more than 10 months before succumbing to the disease.
The mom of two died at Mama June’s home with loved ones by her side. Kaitlyn, Kylee, Mama June, Eldridge, and Anna’s sisters were with her in her final moments.
“With the breaking heart, we are announcing that [Anna] is no longer with us,” Mama June shared with fans on December 10, 2023. “She passed away in my home last night peacefully at 11:12 PM. She gave one hell of a fight for 10 months. She passed away with her family around her. We will be updating y’all with more information as we get it today. We love y’all and continued prayers and thoughts for our family [during] this difficult time.”
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