** Update 11/09/2007
I pray that the mother had NOTHING to do with this death. There is nothing more unfortunate for the children than to have one spouse kill another. The child is left an orphan. The expecially ironic pain of this whole thing is that they were fighting over the child, a child that, G-d forbid, may not have either of them.
It sounds like she has already been through far too much. I hope, at least, she will remain with family and within her community.
By JENNIFER FERMINO and MATTHEW NESTEL
November 1, 2007 -- Child-welfare officials have filed an unusual petition of neglect against the estranged wife of a murdered Queens orthodontist to keep her from getting her daughter back - in part because of the bizarre circumstances surrounding his murder.
The surprising development surfaced as new details emerged about the warring pair's struggle over 4-year-old Michelle Malakov - including a physical tug-of-war, with each yanking the girl.
Family court therapist Jolie Rothschild testified at a hearing in Queens yesterday about the day that Dr. Mazoltuv Borukhova had to hand over Michelle after losing custody to her ex, Dr. Daniel Malakov.
"She was not supportive in the transfer of custody," said Rothschild, who was called to the stand by the Administration for Children's services.
The child was screaming, crying and clinging to her mother, she said.
At one point, the parents literally were engaged in a tug-of-war over Michelle.
"Dr. Malakov had the top of the body and Ms. Borukhova had the bottom," said Rothschild.
But once the girl got in her father's house, she calmed down while her father played piano and danced for her, said Rothschild.
Borukhova's alleged behavior during the prolonged court fight against her husband is also at issue in the preliminary neglect proceedings. At one point, she lobbed sex-abuse charges against her husband, but they were never substantiated.
"Normally, the mother would be the next of kin [when the father dies]," said David Schnall, a lawyer appointed to represent the child during the custody hearings.
"But because of ACS intervention, the child was not immediately reunited with the mother."
A resolute Borukhova attended the hearing and declared, "I want my child back."
Her lawyer, Florence Fass, maintains that her client is being unfairly targeted.
"We now have a child appearing to be placed with people publicly accusing the mother with murder without foundation. Speculation, yes. Foundation, no," said Fass.
Borukhova hoped to convince the judge to return Michelle to her care.
"She's truly focused on her daughter right now," said Fass outside the courtroom. "She lost her husband and daughter in the last week."
Michelle has been temporarily placed with a paternal relative, Fass said.
The internist at North Shore University Hospital had full custody of her daughter until October.
That's when a family court judge gave Michelle to her father, because she was not following visitation orders, according to Malakov's lawyer.
The hearings continue today.
Police had questioned Borukhova after the brazen slaying on Sunday.
A killer with a crude, homemade silencer walked up to the esteemed orthodontist and pumped three bullets into his chest.
The grisly crime took place right in front of his daughter and estranged wife.
No arrests have been made.