What Happened To Mama June's Late Daughter Anna's Two Kids?

The following article includes mention of physical abuse.

When Anna "Chickadee" Cardwell passed away in late 2023, she was survived by her two young daughters, 11-year-old Kaitlyn and 8-year-old Kylee Cardwell. Heartbreakingly, in the time since, the two half-sisters haven't lived together. That's because Chickadee's mom, "Mama June" Shannon took custody of Kaitlyn, while Kylee remained in the care of her father, Chickadee's ex-husband, Michael Cardwell. 

News of the custody setup broke a few days after Chickadee's passing. At the time, TMZ reported that while Kaitlyn was living with her maternal grandmother, Kylee had moved back in with her dad, per arrangements made several months prior. Nevertheless, a few days after that, TMZ published another report, this time with court documents showing that Michael was trying to gain custody of his ex-wife's eldest child, too, who he said he had raised as his own daughter. 

Shannon wasn't willing to give Kaitlyn up easily, however. Speaking to TMZ, she welcomed a court battle, and reiterated that her taking custody of Kaitlyn had always been the plan. A few weeks later, Radar reported that Shannon was granted emergency custody of the 11-year-old. However, that was just the beginning of this heartbreaking situation. 

There has been a huge custody battle over Kaitlyn

"Mama June" Shannon may have secured emergency custody of Kaitlyn Cardwell in January 2024, but the fight with Michael Cardwell over the little girl was far from over. On the contrary, Shannon went on to make some very serious claims against Michael. 

As reported by The U.S. Sun, in response to Michael's ongoing attempts to gain custody of Kaitlyn — in which he pointed to the complicated relationship between his late ex-wife and her mother as a reason for his request to be granted — Shannon made an allegation to the court that Michael had been physically abusive to both Anna "Chickadee" Cardwell and to Kaitlyn. Michael denied the accusation outright via his attorney, who spoke to the outlet. In yet another blow, Shannon's camp also rubbished a claim Michael had made about continuing to see Kaitlyn despite his divorce from Chickadee. Explaining why Kaitlyn had often tagged along when Kylee Cardwell saw her father, she claimed in legal docs, "The child of the marriage did not wish to visit the father if Kaitlyn did not come with her." By contrast, Shannon's filing noted that she had been a constant figure in Kaitlyn's life. 

As of June 2024, Kaitlyn is still living with Shannon — and perhaps unsurprisingly, neither of them have had much contact with Kyle Cardwell.  

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

It's a heartbreaking situation for both Kaitlyn and Kaylee

In the midst of the custody dispute, the fact remains that two sisters who have already lost their mom have been separated from one another, and from the other family members that they love. In an interview with Page Six, the late Anna "Chickadee" Cardwell's sister, Lauryn "Pumpkin" Efird touched on the topic. Efird shared that on the odd occasions she had actually seen Kylee Cardwell, she sensed the little girl was struggling with not being able to see half of her family, noting that she'd burst into tears while running to see them. The feeling was mutual, she explained, noting that her kids were suffering, too. 

As for "Mama June" Shannon, she shared that she had tried to find ways for the kids to be together, and had even taken Kaitlyn Cardwell to Michael Cardwell's home for New Year's Eve. Nonetheless, she explained that the girls had seen each other only three times in the months since their mom passed away. 

Ultimately, as Shannon shared in an interview with Us Weekly, the entire situation is a devastating one. "I should not be raising Kaitlyn, and Michael should not be raising Kylee ... I'll say it 'til the day I die. That life is not fair for the girls," she said. Here's hoping at some point she and Michael can come to an agreement, for the sake of everyone involved — but especially for the two children who have already lost so much.