Local News

Daughter, Abducted Seven Years Ago, Soon To Be Reunited With Mother

Posted April 24, 2001 3:46 a.m. EDT

— Lazalia Urick says seven years ago, she was too young to care for her newborn, and gave her up to a family friend in Selma.

That friend, Katherine Romero, was arrested at a Raleigh Burger King Wednesday for abduction of the child. News that sheriff's deputies found their girl closed what parents say was a seven-year odyssey.

"When they told me they had Crystal, I cried with happiness," said Urick. "It's been rough not knowing if she was dead or alive."

County records show that Urick gave Katherine Romero her power of attorney on July 12, 1994. County records also show that she revoked that power just a week later.

"[Romero] was supposed to relinquish the child in 1994, which she did not. She did not relinquish the child and thus left our jurisdiction, absconded and left our area," says Captain N. Summerlin of the Johnston County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff's deputies say that Romero changed her name and address over the years. She settled in Wendell, where Crystal reached her seventh birthday.

Crystal is now in Wake County custody. Her birth mother would likely not recognize her girl. A Johnston County investigator says they will likely be reunited soon.

"I'm wondering if she'll love me as much as she loved Kathy," says Urick.

Katherine Romero is being held in the Johnston County jail on one million dollars bond.