While it's a relief to have the four year old abandoned on a Queens street identified (her name is Valerie Lozado), the other news about where her mother was has met everyone's worst expectations: Monica Lozado-Rivaineira was killed by her boyfriend, Cesar Ascarrunz, who confessed the crime to the police. Ascarrunz says that he had "objected to her staying out all night and to the manner in which she was raising her daughter." On September 24, Lozado-Rivaineiria attacked him with a knife in their Forest Park, Queens apartment, and he tried to defend himself with a pillow, and then she went unconscious (reports say that authorities believe he strangled Lozado-Rivaineira). Ascarrunz said he slit her throat to "create an airway"; with Lozado-Rivaineiria dead, put her body in a trash bag outside the apartment. He dropped off Valery in another Queens neighborhood to be found by strangers, and then dumped the body in another neighborhood two days later. Ascarrunz, an immigrant who had been a doctor in Bolivia but was a porter in the U.S., was arraigned on various charges of murder and child endangerment.
The repeated airings of footage of Valery led to clues about the case, from who her mother was to who the various other figure she mentioned (her father "Cesar"). It turns out that Lozado-Rivaineira was seeing another man, who now wants to adopt Valery. The Administration for Children's Services says that Valery will not be deported and that her plight has caused dozens of adoption offers. The police have dredged lakes and ponds in Queens and are continuing their search for the body, going upstate to a dump today.
Photograph from Newsday