Abandoned Girl Identified; Mom Is Located in Jail

Times Staff Writer

The fate of a little girl left with two Hawthorne transients in October neared a bittersweet resolution Friday when a relative recognized her from a newspaper photograph and police found her mother in jail.

A picture of the abandoned 3-year-old girl was published in Friday’s Los Angeles Times, where it was seen by her great-aunt, who lives in Carson. The aunt, who gave only her first name, Amelia, immediately telephoned the Los Angeles County Department of Children’s Services, which arranged a meeting at the girl’s foster home in Chatsworth.

Amelia said she had not seen the girl, identified by police as Felicia Alvarado, since July.

“I wasn’t looking for her, really, because I didn’t know she was missing,” Amelia said. “But every time the phone rang, I thought it might be her mother.”


The girl’s grandfather said by telephone from Modesto on Friday that he wants to take custody of Felicia, said Catherine Duke, a children’s services supervisor.

But Felicia will continue to live with foster parents Susan and Bob Reeves until the county Juvenile Court determines whether custody can be transferred to the grandfather, which Duke said could take at least a month.

The girl answers to the name Rachel, given her by the Reeves family after she insisted that her name was “mommy.” She was taken to the Hawthorne Police Department on Oct. 20 by the two transients, who told police that the girl’s mother had left her with them earlier in the day, promising to return shortly.

About the time Amelia, her husband and daughter were heading for Chatsworth on Friday, Hawthorne Police Detective David Ball received a call from the county Probation Department inquiring about the location of a 3-year-old named Felicia Alvarado, whose mother is incarcerated at Sybil Brand Institute serving a 2-year sentence for burglary.


“It was just kind of a weird coincidence that the two things happened on the same day,” Ball said.

A check of police records filled in the details, Ball said. The mother--known as Josie, Josefina and Esther Alvarado--was arrested the night of Oct. 20 while burglarizing a Hawthorne house, he said, just a few hours after she left Felicia with the transients.

Ball said Alvarado asked a probation officer about Felicia’s whereabouts during her probation interview this week, which prompted the call to his office Friday afternoon.

However, Amelia and the other relatives from Carson arrived at the Reeves’ home before Ball had a chance to contact the Department of Children’s Services with confirmation of the abandoned girl’s identity.


At first, Felicia did not seem to recognize her great-aunt.

“She was a little slow at first, but that’s understandable considering what she’s been through,” Amelia said.

Felicia grinned broadly as Amelia hugged and kissed her goodby.

“We have to be very careful,” Duke said. “But I think this is going to work out all right.”


Minutes after the relatives left, Duke received a call from Ray La Motte, children’s services spokeswoman, with news of the confirmation of the names of Felicia and her mother, which matched those given by the Carson relatives.