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Grandmother and child reunion

/ Source: The Associated Press

The grandmother of a 4-year-old girl found wandering a street after her mother vanished plans to travel from Bolivia to reunite with the girl, the Bolivian consul general said Tuesday.

Roxana Rivadineira, who is awaiting a travel visa at the U.S. Consulate in La Paz, also is holding out hope for her missing daughter, said Consul General Jorge Heredia.

The girl, Valery Belen Saavedra Lozada, has been in foster care in New York since the disappearance of her 26-year-old mother, Monica Lozada-Rivadineira, on Sept. 24.

The mother’s companion, Cesar Ascarrunz, 32, is being held without bail on a murder charge.

According to a criminal complaint, Ascarrunz choked Lozada-Rivadineira, put her body in a plastic bag and left it in their apartment for two days. On Sept. 26, he dumped the body in a pile of trash on a Queens street corner, the complaint said.

He is also charged with endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly abandoning Valery.

The only relatives Valery has seen since she was found barefoot in the middle of the night are her grandmother’s brother, Enrique Salas, and his daughter, Youvanska.

“I got very emotional, but I tried not to let her see me cry,” Salas said. “We didn’t want to make her sad; she has gone through enough already. We played and sang, but it gave me great pain to watch her there, so defenseless and with no idea that her mother was gone.”

A family court judge will decide where to place the girl, said Lisi de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the Administration for Children’s Services.