Girl Abandoned on Queens Street 14 Years Ago Is Trying to Go to College in U.S. — and May Get Some Help from NY Charity

A key New York charity, New Yorkers for Children, is considering Valery for a college scholarship one day after seeing her story on News 4 New York

What to Know

  • A teenager who was abandoned on the streets of Queens 14 years ago after her mother was murdered may be on the path to a happier ending.
  • A key New York charity, New Yorkers for Children, is considering Valery for a college scholarship one day after seeing her story on News 4
  • WNBC’s Melissa Russo was tapped by city officials to help solve the mystery of her identity by interviewing the child on TV in 2005

A teenager who was abandoned on the streets of Queens 14 years ago after her mother was murdered may be on the path to a happier ending.

A key New York charity, New Yorkers for Children, is considering Valery for a college scholarship one day after seeing her story on News 4 New York.

They’ve also set up a fund in Valery’s name, where the public can contribute to Valery’s education.

Valery, who is 18 and is entering her senior year in high school, has been living in Bolivia with her maternal grandmother. Her stepfather confessed to murdering her mother, Monica Rivadiniera Lozada in Queens in 2005.

The once soft-spoken 4-year-old captured the hearts of New Yorkers as officials struggled to identify her.

WNBC’s Melissa Russo was tapped by city officials to help solve the mystery of her identity by interviewing the child on TV.

“What is your mommy’s name?” Russo asked from the floor of the Little Flower foster care agency in Jamaica, Queens.

“Monica” Valery whispered.

“Can you tell us what your mommy looks like sweetie?” Russo nudged.

“She looks like a princess,” Valery says with a smile and a collective "awww" is heard in the background, as everyone nervously wondered where Valery’s mother was.

Fourteen years later, Valery still vividly remembers that terrifying night and the interview with News 4 that helped identify her and solve the mystery of her mother’s murder.

“Yeah, I remember I was very impatient and I just wanted to see my mom again … and there were a lot of cameras.” Valery told us from her home in Bolivia.

Valery told the I-Team that she needs help with immigration questions and tracking down money that may have been donated to her but never delivered.

The I-Team reconnected Valery with the attorneys who represented her as a child.

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