February 11, 1998
Father Wins Custody of an 8-Year-Old Girl Kidnapped in 1990
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
AJARDO, P.R. -- An Oregon man won custody Tuesday of his 8-year-old daughter, who was kidnapped in 1990 from her home in San Diego.
The man, Jeffrey Anzaldi, said he was very happy with the decision by Judge Lilia Ortiz Puig of Superior Court to allow his daughter, Crystal Leann Anzaldi, to return home with him to Banks, Ore., outside Portland.
Crystal disappeared when she was 14 months old. She was discovered in Puerto Rico last year, when police investigated accusations of child abuse against Nilza Gierbolini Guzman, who had been masquerading as her mother.
Ms. Gierbolini had sought custody of the girl, whom she called Sonia. She faces trial this month on charges of falsifying the child's birth certificate.
It was not immediately known when Crystal, who has been living in a foster home since last fall, would be reunited with her father.
Crystal's mother, Dorothy Anzaldi of Corning, Calif., had already agreed that her daughter should live with Anzaldi, from whom she is divorced.
The strain of the kidnapping broke up the Anzaldis' marriage. Jeffrey Anzaldi has said that at the time he believed his wife was involved in the child's disappearance, but that he has since changed his mind.
Ms. Gierbolini, who was living in San Diego when the child disappeared, has said the toddler was given to her by a bartender named Jeff Foster. He claimed he was seeking a temporary home for the child because the girl's mother had died, Ms. Gierbolini has said. Ms. Gierbolini's first husband, Darrell Graham, a Navy officer now living in Texas, has told agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that he put Ms. Gierbolini on a plane to Puerto Rico after she showed up with a baby, just days after the kidnapping.
Crystal was briefly reunited with her parents and 10-year-old sister, Kendra, last month when they traveled to Puerto Rico for a hearing.
"They really hit it off," Jeffrey Anzaldi said Tuesday of the siblings. "They act just like sisters, actually."