Two children orphaned when their mom was shot to death on Labor Day are with relatives as the Oxford County Probate Court determines who will assume custody.

Selby Bullard, 30, was a victim in a multiple homicide that weekend at the Black Bear Bed and Breakfast in Newry owned by her mother, Julie Bullard, 65.

Inn guest Christian C. Nielsen, 31, is charged in connection with their deaths, as well as those of Selby’s friend Cynthia Beatson, 43, of Bethel and inn guest James Whitehurst, 50, Batesville, Ark., who was shot in Upton, his body burned and buried there.

Selby Bullard’s husband was killed in a car accident years ago in California, where she grew up. She moved to Maine in 2004 to help her mother run the Black Bear Bed and Breakfast. She was also a real estate agent.

With both parents and their grandmother dead, 11-year-old Leila Bullard and 9-year-old Elliott Bullard moved in with a family friend, Robin Mills, in Bethel.

Mills’ husband, who did not give his name, said that the children are staying with immediate family members in the area and will go to California on Tuesday.

The probate court has given temporary custody to their maternal aunt and uncle, Adrienne and Daniel McNally in San Francisco, Calif., until the custody issues are sorted out.

Most of their immediate family lives in California, a court official said. The family is hosting a celebration of the children’s mother’s and grandmother’s lives from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in San Francisco, Calif.

The custody case is being handled in the Oxford County Probate Court. If the court determines that they should live with a relative in California, then the case will be handed to a California court, according to court officials.

Mexico attorney Maura Horodyski is handling the case. She did not return repeated phone calls for comment.

Court records assure that the kids will be well taken care of in terms of their health and education.

The McNally family is applying in Maine for Aid to Families with Dependent Children money, according to court records.

The two children are in grief counseling, and that will continue when they move to California, court records state.

Nielsen arraignment set for Portland

Christian C. Nielsen, 31, will arraigned on four charges of murder at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, in Cumberland County Superior Court, Portland, according to William Stokes of the Maine Attorney General Office.

The judge will rule on whether Nielsen will receive a mental health evaluation, which was requested by the state.

A grand jury in Oxford County will decide Oct. 4 whether to indict Nielsen.

Nielsen is charged with the shooting deaths of James Whitehurst, 50, of Batesville Ark.; Julie Bullard, 65; her daughter, Selby Bullard, 30, both of Newry, and Cindy Beatson, 43, of Bethel, over Labor Day weekend in Upton and Newry.

Julie Bullard owned the Black Bear Bed and Breakfast in Newry where Nielsen was living and where three of the bodies were found.

– Jessica Alaimo

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