Mother Of Recently Found Child Contemplates Suing Fire Department
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Luzaida Cuevas meets with the press at Philadelphia city hall on Thursday, the same day she finally met her daughter.
updated 3/5/2004 12:51:16 PM ET 2004-03-05T17:51:16

With hugs and kisses, the parents of a girl who was allegedly kidnapped as a newborn six years ago were reunited with the child, officials said Friday.

Luz Cuevas and Pedro Vera met the girl at a government office in New Jersey on Thursday, the same day a judge approved a plan to grant the parents custody, said Cuevas’ lawyer, Andrew Micklin.

Philadelphia-area Rep. Angel Cruz, who represents the neighborhood where Cuevas lives and accompanied her to the reunion, said the mother was “thrilled” to meet the child she had named Delimar Vera.

“She said, ’She called me mommy and she accepts me,”’ Cruz said Friday on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America.”

“She got a hug and kiss, her daughter sat in her lap. The moment she expected six years ago, she got it last night,” Cruz said.

Cuevas and Vera are no longer a couple, Micklin said.

Authorities say the girl was taken from her crib in December 1997 by Carolyn Correa, 42, who then set fire to the home to cover up the kidnapping. Cuevas had long believed that her daughter was alive, even though authorities said she had died in the fire.

Cruz said that a language barrier between authorities and Cuevas, who speaks Spanish, may have led to confusion about whether a body had been found in the fire.

Officials say Correa raised the girl as her own until January, when the two ended up at the same birthday party as Cuevas, who had a hunch that the girl — introduced to her as Aliyah Hernandez — was really her daughter. DNA tests confirmed her hunch, and Correa was charged this week. She is being held in Philadelphia on $1 million bail.

Under the custody arrangement, Cuevas and Vera will share legal custody but the girl, who will keep using the name Aliyah, will live with her mother. Micklin said the transfer of custody will be a gradual process.

The girl does not speak Spanish and her mother speaks very little English.

A mother and her now-6-year-old daughter, who was kidnapped as a newborn and raised by another woman, hugged and kissed during their reunion, a Pennsylvania lawmaker says.

Luz Cuevas met with the girl at an undisclosed location in New Jersey on Thursday, the same day a judge approved a plan to grant custody of the girl to Cuevas and the child’s biological father.

Philadelphia-area Rep. Angel Cruz, who represents the largely Hispanic neighborhood where Cuevas lives, accompanied her to the reunion and said she was “thrilled” to finally see her daughter face-to-face.

“When (Cuevas) came out and met us in the waiting area, she said ’she called me mommy and she accepts me.’ That’s what she told us,” Cruz said Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“She got a hug and kiss, her daughter sat in her lap. The moment she expected six years ago, she got it last night,” Cruz said.

Authorities say the girl was taken from her crib in December 1997 by Carolyn Correa, 42, who then set fire to the home cover up the kidnapping. Cuevas had long believed that her daughter was alive, even though authorities said she had died in the fire.

Correa then raised the girl as her own daughter until January, when Correa and the girl ended up at the same birthday party as Cuevas, who had a hunch that the girl — introduced to her as Aliyah Hernandez — was really her daughter. DNA tests confirmed her hunch, and Correa was charged this week. She is being held in Philadelphia on $1 million bail.

Under the custody arrangement, Cuevas and the girl’s biological father, Pedro Vera, will share legal custody but the girl will live with her mother. Cuevas’ lawyer, Andrew Micklin, said the transfer of custody will be a gradual process.

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