Mass killer’s mother’s estate up for grabs: ‘Capable’ administrator sought

The attorney for Lynda Cruz’s estate has asked the court to name an independent, “capable” person as the administrator instead of Nikolas Cruz, his brother Zachary Cruz or Rocxanne Deschamps, the Lantana-area woman who took in the boys after their mother died.

Deschamps and Zachary Cruz had asked a probate judge to be named administrators of Lynda Cruz’s estate. A hearing regarding that petition was scheduled for last Thursday but attorney Audra Simovitch canceled it.

Simovitch instead filed a motion Monday in Broward County Circuit Court stating that “allegations have been made that Deschamps may not have the best interests of the estate at heart, and therefore may not be an appropriate person to serve as a personal representative.”

RELATED: Zachary Cruz said he regretted bullying his older brother Nikolas

She added that Deschamps might be “attempting to exercise control over assets that may be contained within the estate and which she has no legal claim or entitlement to.” Simovitch said Deschamps no longer has the consent of the majority of beneficiaries to be appointed as the personal representative. Because of Nikolas Cruz’s incarceration for killing 14 students and three adults Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland — which he has admitted to — he might be ineligible for appointment, Simovitch wrote. And Zachary Cruz has been “unavailable for communication” which hinders his ability to be named a personal representative, she wrote.

In attorney Simovitch’s motion for an independent administrator, she listed “red flags” involving Deschamps including:

  • She refused to make Zachary Cruz available to counsel so he can execute required paperwork to be considered as a personal representative.
  • She has refused to provide the registration or title to a 2015 Kia believed to be titled in Lynda Cruz’s name. Deschamps says the Kia is in her care, custody and control. A Kia is often seen sitting in her Lantana Cascade driveway.
  • She has scolded counsel for not probating the estate quick enough prior to the arrest of Nikolas Cruz.
  • Even if Nikolas Cruz had assets left to him from his mother’s estate she would never agree to him being represented by anyone other than the public defender.

Palm Beach Post coverage of the Parkland school shooting

How much the estate is worth is a matter of contention. Nikolas Cruz reportedly said his mother left him about $800,000. Court documents show the only asset is a 2010 Kia. Nikolas and Zachary are listed as beneficiaries of their mother’s estate. Simovitch told The Palm Beach Post on Friday that once an administrator is appointed, that person or persons will be able to speak with banks and insurance companies to see what Lynda Cruz left behind.

Deschamps took in the boys when their mother Lynda Cruz died Nov. 1. Nikolas Cruz had a tumultuous stay at Deschamps’ Lantana-area mobile home for less than a month. He left after he wanted to bring a gun in her home and she said refused, according to her Facebook posts and her friend Chad Bennett. Zachary Cruz still lives with Deschamps.

Despite facing struggles of her own — money problems, alcohol and domestic abuse — Deschamps chose to honor her late friend’s wishes by opening her home to the woman’s sons, The Palm Beach Post reported Sunday. Deschamps hasn’t spoken publicly since the massacre, but according to documents obtained and interviews conducted by The Palm Beach Post, her struggles long preceded her taking in 19-year-old Nikolas and, at the time, 17-year-old Zachary.

RELATED: The Lantana-area woman who took in the Parkland school shooter

In October 2016, Deschamps left the suburban West Palm Beach home she shared with her ex-fiance, which had an assessed value of $572,329 in 2017, according to records, for her dilapidated Lantana Cascade mobile home, which she said has a market value of $3,500. She blamed his verbal and physical outbursts, according to court records.

She and her ex-fiance, Paul Gold, fought over custody of their young boy for about one year. Child-neglect accusations flew back and forth, but authorities never were able to substantiate the claims.

How Deschamps manages today is unclear. While her friend Bennett said she works for a company that employs yacht crews, court records show she’s had trouble finding a job. Deschamps — who is from Quebec, according to her Facebook page — wrote in court documents she cannot find legal employment. There also was a concern where her youngest son, who’s 5, would live if she was to be deported. The court ruled he would live with her.

Staff researcher Melanie Mena contributed to this story.

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