NORTH LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The younger siblings of two boys who drowned in the pool of an apartment complex in North Lauderdale will remain in state custody, a judge has ruled.

The mother of 6-year-old Ja’Kye Joseph and 5-year-old Branario Minto appeared in court on Friday to fight for custody of her two surviving children, who are 1 year old and 4 months old.

Officials with the Florida Department of Children and Families said they have a history with the biological mother and will be looking into all of their previous contact with her while authorities investigate the troubling tragedy.

7News learned at least one of the boys, Minto, had previously been placed in foster care before being returned to his mother.

His foster parents said they’re distraught over the drowning.

“The family is devastated. Our family is devastated,” said Eddie Perez, who said he and his wife took care of the 5-year-old for a year. “We thought he had a bright future ahead of him.”

Perez described Minto as a loving and caring child.

“He was easy to get along with. The kids in school loved him,” he said.

Meanwhile, a memorial where the boys drowned Wednesday night continued to grow this weekend. Friends and family members placed flowers and candles near the pool of the complex, located on Southwest 50th Avenue, near State Road 441 and the Florida Turnpike.

The boys’ mother said the victims were playing outside when they somehow gained access to the gated pool.

Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies are now trying to determine how the brothers managed to get inside the pool, which was fenced off and always locked, according to neighbors.

Fire rescue crews tried to resuscitate the boys, but it was too late.

“I heard commotion out in the court, and I ran over there, and I saw two children laying on the side of the pool,” said Dawn Colletti, who lives nearby.

Paramedics rushed the brothers to Northwest Regional Hospital where they later died.

The children’s foster parents have started a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses. If you would like to make a donation, click here.

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