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Missing N.Y. Hasidic Boy Found

October 16, 1998

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A 6-year-old Hasidic boy with cerebral palsy was reunited with his joyful parents early Friday, a few hours after the New York youngster was found with his baby sitter outside a Virginia hotel.

Chaim Weill let out a wail as his mother, Leah, picked him up outside the home of a foster couple where he was taken after being found with Theresa Giannola Goldberg, 40, on Thursday afternoon.

``Thank God that the police and FBI did a wonderful job with the search,″ said Jacob Weill, the boy’s father.

Mrs. Weill said her son was fine but under stress. She said Mrs. Goldberg ``loved him, a kind of twisted love. She should never be allowed near my family.″

Authorities suspect Mrs. Goldberg of kidnapping the ultra-Orthodox Jewish boy to seek a religious or medical cure. She was arrested at the Fairfield-Marriott Inn in Chester, 15 miles south of Richmond.

The boy was unharmed and in good condition, said Mary Johlie, spokeswoman for the Richmond FBI office. Chaim uses a wheelchair and cannot speak.

The Weills left for New York shortly after the reunion.

After Chaim was found, Mrs. Weill came out and told a huge crowd gathered outside her New York apartment building how grateful she was that her son was found.

``There’s just too many people to thank,″ she said. ``But above all I thank God.″

Members of the Hasidim community celebrated with dancing in the street and shouts of joy when they learned the news.

Mrs. Goldberg took Chaim for a walk while the family celebrated a Jewish holiday Tuesday, and they didn’t return. Police found the boy’s wheelchair Wednesday night on a Brooklyn street.

Hundreds of volunteers from the Weills’ Hasidic community in Brooklyn joined police Thursday in a second day of searching. Mrs. Goldberg’s own religious community, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, condemned the apparent kidnapping and offered help.

Jehovah’s Witnesses’ congregations around the state had been notified, said Danny DeMatteis, a spokesman for the group’s international offices in Brooklyn.

Mrs. Goldberg’s husband, David Goldberg, had indicated she might be taking the boy to South Carolina because she heard other children had been cured of afflictions there, said Capt. John Ward, executive officer of New York’s 90th Precinct.

But DeMatteis said there aren’t any Jehovah’s Witnesses’ medical centers in the state.

Police and FBI officials tracked Mrs. Goldberg to Chester after information initially led investigators to Texas, said Michael Collins, an New York Police Department spokesman. Authorities in Texas gave NYPD officials information that led them to Chester, Collins said, declining to give details.

James Pellechia, a Jehovah’s Witnesses spokesman, told The New York Times that members of his church refuse to take blood transfusions on religious grounds but had no other reservations about medical treatment. He also said members don’t believe in faith healing.

Mrs. Goldberg faces kidnapping charges once she is brought back to New York, said Jim Margolin, spokesman for the FBI. She was to appear in U.S. District Court in Richmond on Friday.

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