Toddler involved in collision faces custody battle
MIAMI (WSVN) -- A 15-month-old toddler is recuperating from her injuries after having been ejected from a car during a collision Monday night.
The accident in which Juliet Rivera was involved claimed the life of her mother's boyfriend. The toddler is now waiting to be released into the custody of the Department of Children and Families, at least for now.
Baby Juliet's stepmother, Karina Gaitan, hopes to continue to be a part of her life. "I've known her since she was two months old," she said.
Juliet's biological father was shot and killed Sunday. Her birth mother, Mylife Rivera-Vasquez, is sitting in jail for trying to beat up the only woman the toddler has known as a mother, Monday night. "She snatched the baby from me, and jumped in the car, with no car seat or nothing, and then took off, going at least 80 miles per hour," Gaitan said. Rivera's boyfriend, Kristofer Astorga, sped away behind the wheel of a Lincoln sedan.
The car never stopped at a stop sign on Northwest 20th Street. "I was going to go home, and then I heard a kaboom," said Gaitan. "When I went to go see, it was them that had crashed into another car," she continued, referring to the black Chevy Tahoe with which Rivera-Vasquez's vehicle collided.
Asturga was killed, and Gaitan took the baby from the smashed-up car. "My daughter was on the floor, and I picked her up and rushed her to the hospital," she said. Juliet sustained bruises and scratches on her right eye, which was swollen shut as she lay in Jackson Memorial Hospital.
On Wednesday, a judge awarded temporary custody of Juliet to her grandmother and Gaitan. "The court will place the minor child in the physical custody of Miss Jesus Leonor Rivera," the judge ruled.
Gaetan is scheduled to meet with the Department of Children and Families Jan 29. hoping that she can get permanent physical custody of Juliet.
Rivera-Vasquez remains in Miami-Dade County Jail, charged with two counts of simple battery.
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