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Social Workers To Fight Father’s Custody Attempt

July 16, 1988

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ A woman who secretly gave birth in an airliner restroom concealed the pregnancy from her husband after he raised questions about her weight gain while they were having marital problems, a lawyer said.

The husband, Louis Locasto, saw his 3-day-old daughter for the first time on Friday and said he would fight to gain custody of her. Social workers filed court documents seeking to keep the baby for another 10 days.

″We’ll make allegations regarding the behavior of the mother that resulted in the need for us to intervene on behalf of the child,″ said Robert McMillan, head of San Mateo County’s Children’s Protective Services.

Those allegations, filed in court Friday, are confidential, McMillan said.

Christina Marie Locasto, 24, surrendered to police Thursday and was charged with felony child endangerment for leaving the newborn under the restroom sink. She pleaded innocent and was released after posting $50,000 bail.

Locasto appeared shaken at a news conference Friday. He did not speak, deferring to his lawyer, and Mrs. Locasto did not attend.

″We are going to request in court Monday that the child be released to him as its father, and there are no charges against him″ as an unfit parent, said his attorney Vicki Yeley.

Attorneys for Mrs. Locasto say she also wants her daughter back.

A closed hearing Monday in juvenile court will determine whether to continue the county’s temporary custody of the child; a permanent custody hearing will be held later.

Locasto told investigators he did not know his wife was pregnant or had given birth during a flight Wednesday from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco.

Locasto suspected his wife was pregnant but she denied it when he questioned her about the weight she had gained around her waist, Yeley said.

Mrs. Locasto told investigators the couple was having marital problems at the time, but that those problems have since been resolved, Yeley said, adding that Locasto has no reason to doubt the infant is his.

Earlier Friday, the New York City couple visited their baby at Mills Memorial Hospital in San Mateo, about 30 miles south of San Francisco, where the brown-haired, blue-eyed girl was in good condition.

Mrs. Locasto held her daughter and spoke to the pediatrician caring for her. The parents said they will name the girl ″Alyssa Frances.″

San Mateo County sheriff’s detectives say Mrs. Locasto expressed no interest in the baby after she surrendered.

″She never has said one thing about the kid. She never asked how it was,″ said sheriff’s Sgt. Bob Morse. She admitted giving birth to the child and putting her under the lavatory’s sink, he said.

Mrs. Locasto is accused of delivering the full-term baby in the lavatory of a United Airlines DC-10 just before it took off and leaving her in a pile of blood-soaked towels under the sink.

After the delivery, Mrs. Locasto resumed her seat with her husband and two daughters, ages 18 months and 6 years, police said. The 6-year-old is Locasto’s from a previous marriage.

Flight attendants, thinking Mrs. Locasto suffered from severe diarrhea, sealed the restroom during the 5 1/2 -hour flight.

A cleaning crew found the whimpering but healthy infant 20 minutes after Flight 35 landed in San Francisco.

Sheriff’s detectives used the passenger list to trace Mrs. Locasto to a relative’s home in Los Altos, 25 miles south of San Francisco.

Update hourly