My brother has recently been arrested and charged with felonious child abuse and first degree murder of his step-son. His wife was present in the home at the time when the event happened and on several occasions I've witnessed her strike the child as well. I know the children would not be safe with her. The two minor children that remained in the home were removed and placed in the custody of the county DSS. My sister accepted the children so that they would not go to foster care. Well on Tuesday during a family court meeting, the mother accused my family of preventing her from seeing the children (which is a lie because she hadn't even attempted to contact the children in the two weeks they have been in the custody of my sister) and said that she was fearful of the safety of the children because she didn't know what we would do to them and all sorts of other malicious lies. The DSS investigator that worked with the mother also took issue with the fact that the children were late for a clinic appointment (we live 4 hours from the clinic and was unfamiliar with the area which we did explain) and that the grandmother of the children was helping out with the care of the kids. Since my brother is charged with a crime and doesn't want the criminal case tried in family court, he could not defend himself in family court and his lawyer did not even ask if he had representation in court (my mother and my aunt were present) and now the children have been removed from our home and placed in foster care with strangers. One of the children is a non-blood child but the other is brother's son. We have heard rumors that the wife's father is attempting to get custody and take both children to Las Vegas. We live in NC. Is there anything that we can do to retain custody to the children. If not the non-blood child, then what about my four month old nephew?