The father of one of the two Upper Makefield boys, who is hospitalized in an extremely critical condition after their mother allegedly shot them recently, tried to cancel a summer trip to Vietnam for fear she would not return back, shows court documents.
In court documents, Edward Tini called his ex-wife, Trinh Nguyen, an aviator and a “classic parent kidnapper.”
Recently, Tini tried to prevent Nguyen from taking their 9-year-old son Nelson on a planned trip to his native Vietnam in the coming months, which the couple agreed on last year.
He expressed concern that Nguyen would refuse to return to the United States, citing a 2015 incident before they got married, in which he said Nguyen took their then 3-year-old son to Texas and threatened not to return. according to documents filed in Bucks County Court.
Nguyen, 38, is accused of shooting Nelson Tini and his older half-brother Jeffery “JT” Tini, 13, in the head while lying asleep in their beds Monday morning, police said.
After shooting the boys, Nguyen allegedly tried to shoot his neighbor, Gianni Melchiondo, the nephew of Edward Tini, but the gun did not fire. Melchiondo got the gun away from Nguyen and then ran into the house while fleeing in a white minivan.
She was seen several hours later in the parking lot at Washington Crossing United Methodist Church, where she was arrested. She is being held without bail accused of attempted murder and possession of a criminal instrument. Nguyen legally owned the registered gun she used, authorities said.
Authorities do not expect the boys to survive their wounds. They remain on life support and the family plans to donate their organs, according to police. Thursday morning, prosecutors confirmed the boys’ condition has not changed.
District Attorney Matt Weintraub has not released a motive for the shootings, but court documents show Nguyen was about to lose his home and faced a looming custody battle over Nelson, who was born in October 2012.
Nguyen has legal custody of Jeffrey Tini, whose father was her first husband, court records show. The couple divorced in 2009.
Court records show that Edward Tini, 51, filed the original custody request in Bucks County Court shortly after the couple married in July 2015, when he says Nguyen left the state with their son. The courts granted the couple shared custody of Nelson. Both parties also had the same physical custody.
The order contained a provision preventing any of the parents from taking Nelson out of the continental United States without first obtaining written permission, and agreed that consent would not be unreasonably withheld.
The couple were later reconciled and the custody case went to sleep, according to the court document. It reopened in April last year after Nguyen filed for divorce and Tini moved out of the home in the 100 block of Timber Ridge Road where the couple had lived since 2012.
In December, Nguyen filed requests for contempt and modification against her ex-husband, claiming that the 2015 custody was never executed, according to documents. She also said the order was not fair to her because she did not have her son every weekend.
“I still honor the 50/50 remand prison with a different share to be fair to both parties,” Nguyen wrote in his application.
In her request, she asked the court to change the days she had custody so she had weekend time with Nelson and for permission to get a passport for Nelson and take him on vacation to Vietnam. As part of the couple’s divorce settlement in 2021, it was agreed that Nguyen could take Nelson to visit his family in Vietnam for five weeks every other summer, from the month of June.
Edward Tini agreed to change days as long as it remained 50/50 custody, but wanted to postpone the change until at least April because both parents moved to new homes, he thought it was enough change for the child, according to court documents.
But he changed his mind about the visit abroad.
“Vietnam is not a Hague member state. Mother has just received $ 220,000 in a divorce purchase. Father is afraid she will run to Vietnam with the child and the money and he will never get his son back,” according to the papers. “Dad thinks mom is a classic aviation risk, and she presents herself as a classic parent kidnapper.”
Legal documents did not provide further evidence that Nguyen was a flight risk beyond the 2015 incident.
Tini said he would reconsider his Vietnam trip when Nelson was a teenager, and could call him to come and pick him up if his mother refused to return to the United States. He refused a compromise in which Nguyen would be required to post bail for the trip to take place.
Nguyen, however, denied that she intended to move to Vietnam.
“She has two children who go to an amazing Council Rock School District. She has no intentions of taking them to live in Vietnam. She would never do that,” she said in a lawsuit.
Following a hearing in March, the court issued a ruling in which Tini and Nguyen agreed to continue with 50/50 physical custody of Nelson and a new schedule with effect from April 1st. Judge Denise Bowman also ordered an evaluation of Nelson to determine if he needed therapy.
Bowman also held Tini in contempt of the divorce agreement, and he was warned that if he wanted to change the settlement agreement, he must take appropriate action.
Bowman did not make a decision about the Vietnam trip. A separate hearing was to be held on this issue.
In court documents, Tini, who lives in Philadelphia and owns a window paint business there, claimed he was on a house hunt in Newtown Township to be closer to his son.
Meanwhile, Nguyen, who was recently self-employed, and her sons were evicted from the Timber Ridge Road home on May 3 after a nine-month legal battle with her landlord and ex-sister-in-law, Corrina Tini Melchiondo, who lives in the adjoining home with his adult son.
Tini Melchiondo is the legal owner of the property, described as a duplex, but had a verbal agreement with Edward Tini to pay off the home’s five-year mortgage and pay half of the current bills and property maintenance and extensive renovation, according to documents. Nguyen was not part of the home deal.
During the divorce settlement, Nguyen agreed to continue paying household bills, estimated at $ 2,400 a month, to Tini Melchiondo, who agreed to let her “temporarily stay” at home.
The court’s cases show that Tini Melchiondo was awarded more than $ 11,000 in unpaid rent and fees, which she alleged Nguyen refused to pay. Records show that Edward Tini agreed to pay Nguyen $ 3,500 a month in child support for two years, and she received a payment of $ 220,000 on a house that the couple sold.
Legal documents do not show whether Nguyen found a new home.
Nguyen remains detained without bail in the county jail. The charges against her are expected to be upgraded to homicide.
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