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Child visits expanded for slain woman's parents

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The parents of slain Lawrenceville resident Nique Leili scored a minor victory Friday in Gwinnett Juvenile Court by gaining more visitation with their daughter's youngest children.

Leili's two youngest daughters, ages 9 and 12, will be allowed to spend a weekend and two dinner visits per month with their maternal grandparents, according to an out-of-court agreement both sides struck before a scheduled hearing.

Leili's husband of 13 years, Matt Leili, will keep the girls at other times. He's the only suspect named by Gwinnett police in his wife's slaying, but no charges have been brought.

Douglas Chatham and his wife's visits with the girls were previously restricted to a few hours a couple days per month. A hearing to finalize the matter has been set for December, a family member said.

Chatham filed for custody days after his daughter's decomposing body was found July 16 by volunteer searchers in a wooded area of her Lawrenceville subdivision.

Nique Leili's family has little doubt that her husband was involved in her death, but provisions in the custody agreement will restrict them from discussing the case with the girls.

Only Chatham, his wife and Nique Leili's daughter from a previous marriage will be allowed to visit with the girls, said Matt Leili's attorney, Sumner Riddick.

"We're just happy that the families are continuing to work well together," Riddick said. "The kids continue to be happy, the best they can be with the loss of their mother."

Nique Leili's sister, Amy Elk, said a judge ordered that the girls must undergo therapy. Media members are restricted from juvenile court proceedings.

A court-appointed guardian "is going to continue to keep tabs on the girls and make sure they're getting the love and support they need," Elk said.

Riddick said his client attended the hearing Friday with his father and remains primarily concerned with the girls' well-being. Asked if Matt Leili's has considered hiring independent investigators, given than no arrests have been made in his wife's death, Riddick said his client lacks the financial means to do so.

"These were very middle class folks," Riddick said. "He relies on the wisdom of Gwinnett police investigators."

Leili's autopsy did not reveal an exact cause of death, only that she hadn't died by gun or knife.

Samples collected during the autopsy underwent toxicology tests at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's lab. Authorities have said GBI testing could be crucial to the case.

When that testing was expedited and finished last month, officials with the Gwinnett Medical Examiner's Office asked for additional testing. The second round of tests continues, Chief Forensic Investigator Ted Bailey said Friday.

Authorities have not specified what the additional testing entails.

A strange legal battle over control of Nique Leili's remains was settled outside court when the two sides agreed to separate funerals. Nique Leili's family buried her in Athens, next to her grandfather.