Attorneys for woman found dead, ex-husband work on communication plan

Published: Thursday, June 28 2012 11:52 a.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Attorneys in the case involving the estate of a Salt Lake scientist, her children and her ex-husband say they are close to reaching a communication agreement.

Almut von Schwedler, who oversees the estate of her deceased sister, 49-year-old Uta von Schwedler, said she was not allowed to have contact with her nieces and nephews because their father, John Wall — Uta von Schwedler's former husband — forbid it.

Uta von Schwedler was mysteriously found dead in an overflowing bathtub in her house on Sept. 27, 2011. She and John Wall were divorced in 2006, but a bitter custody battle over their children continued until the day she was found dead.

The medical examiner listed von Schwedler's cause of death as drowning. But the manner of death "could not be determined," leaving open the possibilities of both murder and suicide.

After her death, her four children moved in with their father full-time. That's when Almut von Schwedler, who lives in Australia, said communication with them was cut off.

When the oldest son, Pelle Wall, turned 18, he moved out of his father's house and filed a motion in court to have his siblings — ages 16, 13 and 11 — also removed from the house while a criminal investigation into whether John Wall had any involvement in his ex-wife's death was completed.

A settlement in that case was reached last week in 3rd District Juvenile Court. Details of the agreement were not released, but the children were relocated in an undisclosed location.

During a hearing Thursday in probate court, attorneys for both sides told 3rd District Judge Ryan Harris that they were close to working out an agreement of how Almut von Schwedler could communicate with the children in order to facilitate administration of the estate. A guardian ad litem was now being included in the court hearing.

Almut von Schwedler was present for Thursday's hearing.

Harris set an additional court date for Monday in case an agreement wasn't reached. Both sides, however, left Thursday's brief court hearing to go to a conference room where they hoped to work out the final details.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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