Grandparents Get Temporarily Custory Of Airliner Baby
BELMONT, Calif. (AP) _ The paternal grandparents of a baby girl who was abandoned in a jetliner bathroom after her secret birth were granted temporary custody of the infant Friday.
″The court has decided it would be better for the child to be with relatives,″ said Gerry Hilliard, the court-appointed lawyer of 9-day-old Alyssa Frances LoCasto.
Juvenile Court Commissioner Patricia Bresee, after an hour-long, closed hearing, decided that the home of John and Frances LoCasto of New York City was adequate for their granddaughter, Hilliard said.
The elder LoCastos, who attended the hearing in San Mateo County Juvenile Court, posed for photographers but declined to talk to reporters. They were whisked away as attorneys spoke at a brief news conference.
The baby’s parents, Christina and Louis LoCasto, also of New York, did not attend the hearing. Mrs. LoCasto, 24, pleaded innocent last week to a felony charge of child endangerment and is free on bail.
Her husband had asked earlier that the baby be placed in his custody. But the parents’ lawyers said their clients would be pleased by the commissioner’s decision granting custody to the grandparents.
″The only disappointment is that the child can not be moved (immediately),″ said Vicki Yeley, Louis LoCasto’s attorney.
The brown-haired, blue-eyed girl will remain in a foster home until Aug. 5 because legal proceedings with New York state officials must be completed before the transfer, Hilliard said.
The elder LoCastos will have custody of Alyssa at least until Aug. 26, when the parties will return to court for a hearing to determine if the arrangement will continue. During that time, Alyssa’s parents will be able to visit her once a week under the supervision of child protection officials in New York, lawyers said.
The grandparents live less than two miles from the baby’s parents on New York’s Staten Island.
Before making her decision, Bresee reviewed a report by the county’s Department of Social Services on homes and families of several relatives.
Yeley and John L. Williams, Christina LoCasto’s lawyer, were optimistic before the hearing that the grandparents would be awarded temporary custody.
″This is a very warm, close-knit family, and they’re very upset (Alyssa) is in foster care,″ Yeley said.
The furor over Alyssa began July 13, when she was found under a bathroom sink on a United Airlines jet shortly after it arrived at San Francisco International Airport from Newark, N.J., and all passengers had left.
Mrs. LoCasto, traced through the passenger list, turned herself in to San Mateo County sheriff’s detectives the next morning.
LoCasto, who owns a limousine service, did not know his wife was pregnant or had given birth before the flight, detectives said. Her lawyer said that the couple had had marital problems and that she concealed her pregnancy from her husband.
The couple’s decision to remain together was one reason Bresee rejected Louis LoCasto’s request for custody, Yeley said Monday.
The LoCastos have two other daughters, 18 months and 6.