Sophia Acosta's sister goes home with dad

VISALIA, Calif.

/*Obie Acosta*/ and his family leave the Tulare County Juvenile Detention Center Wednesday morning after a heated custody battle for his 23-month old daughter.

Acosta was granted full custody of little Alexa. She'll be two-years-old next month.

A judge ordered Obie Acosta not to talk to the media, but his sister told Action News, they are thrilled Alexa will be coming home to them soon.

Trina Lopez, Alexa Acosta's aunt said, "I just want to hug her hug her and be able to maybe have a big old sleepover I don't know but yeah we're real happy."

Obie and Alexa Acosta's mother, Erika Smith, had been battling for her custody ever since Alexa's older sister, Sophia, was murdered this past spring.

In May, Exeter Police responded to the apartment Erika Smith shared with her boyfriend, Christopher Cheary, to find the 3-year-old unresponsive. Later, investigators revealed she had been sexually assaulted and then beaten to death by Cheary.

Since the crime, Alexa has been in the custody of Child Welfare Services. Wednesday, she'll be going home with her father.

Alexa and Sophia's mother, /*Erika Smith*/, avoided our cameras by exiting the courthouse through a back entrance. She remains a person of interest in Sophia's murder.

Obie's sister, Trina Lopez, says because of the sensitivity of Sophia's case, Obie has had to undergo anger management and domestic violence classes in order to be eligible to receive custody of Alexa.

Lopez said, "Everything's good so baby is going to be safe she was already safe where she was at but now she's going to be surrounded with lots of love."

The Tulare County district attorney's office says what happens in the custody hearing could play into the trial for Sophia Acosta's accused killer, /*Chris Cheary*/. He is expected back in court in February.

Cheary is facing a possible death sentence for killing Sophia under a special allegation that he tortured her.

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