Quick thinking by kidnapped 8-year-old
may have saved her life
August 14, 2000
VALLEJO, California (AP) --
After spending two nights shackled to the front seat of a
kidnapper's car, 8-year-old Midsi Sanchez finally saw her chance to
make a dash for freedom and took it -- a move that police say may
have saved her life.
The brave effort got Midsi out of
harm's way and home to Vallejo on Saturday, just in time for her
birthday party where the welcome home celebration spilled into the
"Happy birthday, dear Midsi, happy birthday to you,"
sang the swelling crowd of well-wishers on her front lawn. Midsi
looked on from an upstairs window with tears streaming past her
smile, safely in the arms of her father, Juan Carlos Sanchez.
"She is a hero; she got away. She outsmarted him,"
said Midsi's mother, Susana Velasco-Sanchez.
Midsi tried to pick the lock of her leg shackles
Friday with a nail file, but the tip broke off so she abandoned that
plan. She spent Thursday and Friday night sleeping on the front seat
of her abductor's car.
Saturday morning, with her abductor outside the car,
Midsi seized the opportunity to rummage through a ring of keys until
she found one that set her free.
She darted from the car, flagged a truck driver,
hopped up the steps of his cab and dove through the window onto his
lap. By Saturday evening Midsi was home and a suspect who was
released in prison in November for a previous kidnap conviction,
Curtis Dean Anderson, 39, was behind bars.
Anderson was to be arraigned Tuesday on charges of
kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault on a minor, rape and two
counts of lewd acts.
"She had the will to survive and she had the will to
escape and she never gave up," Santa Clara Police Department
spokesman Anton Morec said. "She said she thought he was going to
News of Midsi's daring escape was tempered by the
knowledge that another Vallejo girl, 8-year-old Xiana Fairchild, is
still missing. Xiana disappeared Dec. 9 while walking to catch a bus
Police said Anderson may have some connection to her
disappearance. Anderson was a night cab driver at City Cab around
the time that Robert Turnbough, the boyfriend of Xiana's mother,
worked there as a mechanic, police said. Turnbough has been
questioned repeatedly by police in the case.
Midsi's mother said Sunday she saw Anderson twice --
once the day her daughter disappeared and again when he volunteered
to help find her.
"I remembered the face, and it was him,"
Velasco-Sanchez said during a news conference. "He even came into my
house and offered to help search. When police showed me the flier
and said they had a suspect, it just hit me. I knew it was him."
She told authorities she saw Anderson standing on a
nearby corner the day of the abduction, smoking a cigarette. She
said she saw him again the following day, when he came to the house
volunteering to help search for Midsi.
Anderson was released from prison on the kidnapping
charge one month before Xiana vanished. He had been sentenced for
abducting a woman and taking her to Oregon in 1991.
End to Xiana Story
man's attorney says police are focusing on his client
Finz,Patrick Hoge,Tyche Hendricks, Matthew B. Stannard, Chronicle
February 4, 2001
Authorities disclosed yesterday that a skull found in the Los Gatos
hills was that of 7-year-old Xiana Fairchild, bringing a tragic end
to a long and wrenching 14-month search for the Vallejo girl.
later, the attorney for Curtis Dean Anderson, who was being held in
Solano County in the abduction of another young girl, revealed that
police have stepped up their probe of his client in connection with
the Xiana case.
was abruptly transferred from lockup in Fairfield to Santa Clara
County last night and is likely to face charges in the missing
Vallejo girl's death, according to defense attorney Carl Spieckerman.
But as of late last night, Solano County jail officials said they
still had custody of Anderson.
seemed to be a state of confusion, Santa Clara County authorities
confirmed that they were planning to receive and book Anderson after
midnight and then later said plans had changed.
going to book him," Spieckerman said. "And I believe he's going to
be charged with something in connection with this case."
however, Santa Clara County sheriff's officials adamantly said there
was no evidence to link Anderson to Xiana's death. Last night they
would not confirm whether Anderson was being moved or charged.
remains -- a portion of her skull and two pieces of her jaw -- were
discovered Jan. 19 by a construction worker driving up a rural Santa
Clara County road about 60 miles from Xiana's Vallejo home.
positively identified through both dental records and DNA testing on
Friday, according to Dr. Gregory Schmunk, Santa Clara County's
vanished Dec. 9, 1999, while on her way to school in downtown
police have focused on several suspects, including the 39-year- old
arrested last summer and charged with kidnapping and molesting an 8-
year-old Vallejo girl, who after two days of being held captive in
an industrial part of Santa Clara managed to break away and run for
help. Since his arrest, Anderson has reportedly told three people,
including Xiana's great- aunt, that he was involved in the 7-year-old's
said that Xiana's death was a homicide, but wouldn't say how she was
He said a
forensic dentist compared the teeth in the skull to dental X-rays of
Xiana from within a year before her disappearance and found that
no question . . . that the skull belongs to Xiana," Schmunk said.
Police Chief Robert Nichelini said, "Now we know we have a serious
crime. This is more than just a missing girl."
mother, Antoinette Robinson, and her great-aunt, Stephanie
Kahalekulu, who had fought off despair for so long, learned the news
from police earlier in the day, according to Vallejo police
spokeswoman Lt. Joann West. "They were both distraught. They were
very emotionally upset by it," said West.
Stephanie recognized this was a possibility, especially when the
remains were found (in January). So she was somewhat prepared for
this, but she was still hoping it would not be (Xiana). Even
yesterday she was talking about an expanded, nationwide search."
who raised Xiana for most of her seven years, left her home in
Colorado and came to the Bay Area where she had doggedly pursued
every possible clue, helping open four successive volunteer centers,
leading regular community search parties and organizing fund-raisers.
were cruelly lifted in recent weeks by the reported words of
Anderson, who she said told her that he took Xiana, gave her to
someone else and that she was still alive.
County district attorney said two news reporters were told similar
stories by Anderson and reported it to police about four months ago.
would not say how, when or where Xiana had died, nor even whether
they knew the answers to those questions. They declined to comment
on how long the skull might have been on the remote road, how it got
there or whether any other evidence was found at the site.
Robinson nor Kahalekulu made any public appearances yesterday.
Robinson's attorney, said his client was notified of the
identification at about 11 a.m. and "cried a lot" afterward.
seclusion right now. She's not saying much of anything. It's pretty
hard, even though obviously she's been aware of the possibility for
a long time," Healy said. "Everybody's talking about closure, and I
think that's easier said than done."
relationship with Kahalekulu had become strained by accounts from
neighbors of Xiana living in cramped conditions with Xiana's mother
and her boyfriend, Robert Turnbough. But yesterday they mourned
together, according to friends.
told police he had left the girl at a bus stop the morning of Dec.
9, but later changed his story to say she walked alone to catch the
very day Xiana disappeared, we got conflicting stories from her
mother and her mother's boyfriend," Nichelini said. "We still have
those conflicting stories and we have to sort it out."
police never labeled Turnbough a suspect, only saying he had been
under "a cloud of suspicion" because of his contradictory tales.
a federal grand jury questioned both Turnbough and Robinson six
times, but he was never indicted. Police also visited a landfill in
Washington state where Vallejo sends trash, but nothing was found.
McEntee, Turnbough's lawyer, declined to comment on the effect the
discovery would have on his client's case, saying simply, "We're all
saddened by this."
the same, but said that down the road, if another suspect is
implicated in the case, he would be interested in reviewing
information about the police investigation as it is revealed in
clearly going to have to be a reckoning, and today is not the day
for that. Having said that . . . they focused on (Robinson and
Turnbough) obviously to the detriment of the investigation."
yesterday whether Anderson was considered a suspect, Santa Clara
County sheriff's Capt. Brian Beck said, "There is no evidence of
links to Anderson at this point."
Spieckerman, Anderson's attorney, said he tried to visit his client
in the Solano County Jail at about 2:20 p.m. yesterday, and was told
to wait. At about 4 p.m., he said, a jail official told him Anderson
had been removed under court order.
some damn inquisition; they spirited him off," Spieckerman said. "It's
extremely strange. I've been doing this 26 years and have never seen
anyone spirited off in the middle of the afternoon."
Clara County sheriff's Lt. John Hirokawa would not comment on
Anderson's location, whether investigators have spoken to him, or
whether he has been taken to the site where the skull was found.
saying is (the investigation) is proceeding," he said. Hirokawa said
that regardless of Anderson's comments to the press, Santa Clara
investigators do not know who the suspects are in the homicide case.
no physical evidence that will link him at this time to the Xiana
Fairchild disappearance," Hirokawa said.
comments and revelations to the press are not evidence," he said. "His
comments to the press are not under penalty of perjury. He could
tell you 'I'm the Zodiac killer' . . . but those claims are just
that: They are comments to the press, which hold no validity in
DISCOVERY OF SKULL
bones were found on Soda Springs Road, about 20 miles from
Anderson's trailer park home.
was found by a construction worker who stopped his truck to move
what he thought was a rock from the middle of the narrow, paved road
in unincorporated Los Gatos, said Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie
man discovered it was actually part of a skull, he reported it to
the sheriff's department and it was turned over to the medical
examiner. The man's identity has not been released.
two weeks have been spent trying to identify the skull, which was
originally believed to come from a 5- or 6-year-old child.
Re, director of the Santa Clara County Crime Laboratory, said his
staff used tooth pulp from one of the skull's molars to work up a
genetic profile of the victim.
confirmed it matched the (DNA) profile provided to us by the FBI of
Xiana based on (tissue) samples from her toothbrush," he said. "There's
100 percent certainty it's identical."
MOURNING IN VALLEJO
yesterday, thousands of residents mourned the news that many had
considered but no one had wished for.
never met Xiana Fairchild, the girl she's been searching for over
the past 13 months. Yesterday she found out she never will. "I just
kept hoping to be able to meet her and watch her grow up," said May,
affects a lot of people,' said Vincent Wortham, a 40-year-old
Vallejo search volunteer. "There's a lot of sadness and anger.
Emotions are high today. "
erected a memorial shrine to Xiana, including a teddy bear, outside
their search center, which was supposed to reopen in two weeks after
family members would not speak to the media yesterday.
the apartment where Xiana lived on Georgia Street in downtown
Vallejo, residents were devastated.
to hear about it. She was a very sweet little girl. She used to play
right here in the hallway," said Mickey Davenport, the apartment
neighbors who had not known Xiana said they had been holding out
hope for her safe return.
believed she was still alive," said Gloria Lee, a Vallejo postal
worker. "I had hoped she was sold for drug money, but I didn't think
she was killed."
yesterday's news was even more chilling for her as a mother of two
has heightened her awareness, she said. "It's very scary, very
frightening. You don't have the freedom to have a normal life with
your children" she said. "You always have to know exactly where they
Vallejo residents felt yesterday's news afforded Xiana's family some
measure of closure, despite the grim ending.
to say that maybe she's still out there, but if the skull's hers, it
brings some closure to the whole thing," said Mike Harris, 55, a
retired pipe fitter.
son, Richard, 31, lives in Xiana's old apartment, which her mother
vacated about six months ago.
the case is still far from closed. The identification of Xiana's
skull still leaves many questions unanswered, he said.
people want to know. They still want to get to the bottom of this, "
said Richard Harris, who has an 8-year-old son. "It's like an open
mourners placed flowers, pictures and purple and yellow candles
outside the search center. "Purple was Xiana's favorite color," said
Wortham, "and yellow was our hope that she would come home alive."
Clute, a 71-year-old search team leader, said he hoped the search
center would remain open and be used to help find other missing
children. "Hopefully we can use it as a missing children's center
for Vallejo, because we don't have one," he said.
volunteers were notified yesterday about the skull's identification.
At one time there were more than 400 volunteers involved in the
search for Xiana.
May, became so involved that they felt like Xiana had become part of
their family. May's 2-year-old daughter learned to recognize Xiana's
face on television. "She would say 'Nana' because she can't say
Xiana, but she knew who Xiana was and I don't know what to do now, I
don't know how to tell her."
SEARCH FOR XIANA FAIRCHILD
1999: Xiana Fairchild, 7, is reported missing by her mother,
Antoinette Robinson, when she fails to return home from Mare Island
Elementary School. They share the apartment with Robert Turnbough,
an ex-felon, who claims he dropped Xiana off at the school bus stop
Volunteers and law enforcement search the city and waterfront. Kim
Swartz opens up a volunteer center to aid in the search.
Turnbough tells reporters he isn't sure whether he drove Xiana to
the bus stop the morning of Dec. 9.
Court records reveal that Turnbough was convicted of scalding an
infant in 1994.
Xiana's case appears as a segment on "America's Most Wanted."
Police and FBI agents search marshlands between Benicia and Cordelia,
an area close to Vallejo where a body could have been disposed of.
Police search the home of Turnbough's parents, looking for a diary
OF DECEMBER: Search continues. Bake sales and raffles are held to
raise money for search efforts.
The search for Xiana has already cost the city of Vallejo more than
2000: A police search of the apartment Xiana shared with Robinson
and Turnbough turns up the clothes Xiana was said to be wearing when
she left home the morning of Dec. 9.
Turnbough declares his innocence at a press conference, though he
admits he failed a lie detector test.
Searchers renew efforts to find Xiana, after conflicting tales begin
Vallejo police conduct a search of the Roosevelt Regional Landfill
that is perched along the border of Washington and Oregon.
Marc Klaas and Kim Swartz lead 800 volunteers on another search
effort, recovering items, none of which can be identified by family
as belonging to Xiana.
Grand jury issues subpoenas to neighbors, relatives and
acquaintances of Xiana.
$75,000 reward offered.
Grand jury investigation focuses on Turnbough. No charges result.
The Leeza Gibbons show broadcasts a television program about the
Klaas leaves Xiana Fairchild Volunteer Center, complaining of
disagreement among directors.
Swartz and Stephanie Kahalekulu, Xiana's great-aunt, argue over
control of the money for Xiana's search.
Solution to Xiana's disappearance is near, police say, refocusing
their investigation on Turnbough and a group of his friends,
including William Perkins Jr., who spent the night of Dec. 8 at the
Vallejo apartment of Xiana Fairchild.
8-year-old girl of Vallejo disappears on her way home from school.
Perkins is arrested on charges of spousal abuse and sex charges
Girl escapes her kidnapper, Curtis Dean Anderson, who is later
arrested. Anderson is found to have a long criminal history.
Police investigations reveal that Anderson visited the Vallejo
apartment where Xiana lived shortly before her disappearance.
2001: Small skull found in Los Gatos hills.
While waiting for DNA results on skull, Kahalekulu discloses that
Anderson has admitted to her that he snatched Xiana and that she is
Child molester arrested in Xiana Fairchild murder
JOSE – He bragged about kidnapping and killing 7-year-old Xiana
Fairchild, but it took authorities more than three years to get
enough evidence to arrest Curtis Dean Anderson for the murder.
Anderson, 43, will face charges of murder, kidnapping and child
molestation in the case, which began when Xiana disappeared in 1999
and remained unsolved when her skull was discovered more than a year
later, Charles Constantinides, Santa Clara County deputy district
attorney, said Wednesday.
Anderson, a former Vallejo cab driver with a long criminal history,
has been transferred to the county jail and will be arraigned
Thursday, Constantinides said. If he is convicted of murder, he
could face the death penalty.
Anderson already is serving a 251-year sentence for the 2000
kidnapping and molestation of another litle girl who eventually
he was arrested for that crime, Anderson bragged to reporters and to
Xiana's family that he kept Xiana for two weeks and then gave her,
alive, to someone else. He also said he once gave Xiana a ride in
his cab. Later, he sent investigators on a failed search for her
Beginning last summer, three investigators – a Vallejo police
officer, a Santa Clara County Sheriff's investigator and a district
attorney's office investigator – worked full-time corroborating
Anderson's claims, Constantinides said.
talked to three children and a woman who saw Xiana with Anderson in
the days before her December 1999 disappearance. They identified
Anderson and his car – the same car from which the 8-year-old girl
escaped, according to a declaration by the investigators that was
filed in court Monday along with the criminal complaint.
Investigators also interviewed a convicted felon who was housed in
the Solano county jail at the same time as Anderson. Prior to any
media coverage linking Anderson to Xiana's abduction, the man had
written a letter to the Solano County District Attorney's office
summarizing Anderson's alleged confession to him.
Authorities also determined that Anderson allegedly had made a
similar confession to his brother during the summer of 2000.
Constantinides said DNA testing has been done, but he refused to
comment on the results or give any details about physical evidence
connecting Anderson to Xiana. He also refused to say when or how
Xiana was killed.
girl's skull was found in the Santa Cruz mountains in January 2001.
Between 1979 and 1991, Vallejo police arrested Anderson at least 10
times on various drug, theft and weapons counts, according to court
records, two of which resulted in felony convictions.
1991, Anderson was charged with kidnapping a woman and forcing her
to drive her car to Oregon. He was convicted of false imprisonment
and car theft and sentenced to 80 months in prison.
Anderson was in and out of California prisons 10 times from 1986 to
1999 for three convictions and a host of parole violations,
including a series of allegations of violence against women.
also lived in Vallejo at the time Xiana disappeared and worked for
the same cab company where her mother and the mother's boyfriend
once worked, although not at the same time as Anderson.
According to the investigators' declaration, Anderson admitted in
two prison interviews earlier this year that he kidnapped Xiana and
held her for several weeks. He also claimed to have a hidden
videotape of the sexual abuse, but authorities refused to say
whether the videotape exists.
who was born while her mother, Antoinette Robinson, was in prison
for auto theft, disappeared while walking to a school bus stop, six
months after Robinson reclaimed her, against the wishes of other
Stephanie Kahalekulu, a great-aunt who helped raise Xiana, helped
mount an extensive search for the girl.
Police on Wednesday called Kahalekulu a hero for making sure they
continued their investigation. She said the case had taken its toll
on her emotionally, but she was glad justice was finally being done.
like to see the death penalty, but, even better, I'd like to see ...
him to be tortured in pain on a daily basis," Kahalekulu said, tears
filling her eyes.
Susanna Velasco, the mother of the then-8-year-old girl who escaped
from Anderson, said her daughter is doing well. She's become good
friends with Kahalekulu and attended Wednesday's news conference to
show her support.
glad that they could punish him now," Velasco said.
Accused kidnapper portrayed as
Detective testifies defendant talked of videotaping
strangulation of Vallejo 7-year-old
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
The man accused of kidnapping and murdering 7-year-old
Xiana Fairchild in 1999 allegedly had a pattern of stalking Vallejo
schoolgirls, according to Tuesday testimony in a San Jose courthouse.
day's most horrific revelation, a Vallejo police detective testified
that a prison informant said Curtis Dean Anderson bragged that he
had videotaped himself strangling Xiana as he sexually assaulted the
drugged child -- before beheading her.
testimony came on the second day of a preliminary hearing to
determine if there's sufficient evidence to make Anderson, 44, stand
trial for the kidnap-murder of Xiana. Anderson is charged with
abducting her in Vallejo as she walked to school, and then sexually
assaulting and killing her as she was held captive at his San Jose
boardinghouse room before dumping her body in the Santa Cruz
Clara County Judge Ron Del Pozzo is expected to rule today on
whether Anderson will stand trial.
of Xiana's skull were found in 2001 on Soda Springs Road above the
Lexington Reservoir near Los Gatos, and Anderson -- who for years
had told news reporters and eventually investigators that he had
kidnapped the girl -- was finally charged with her death in 2004.
Prosecutors have yet to decide whether Anderson should face the
hearings, prosecutor Charles Constantinides has used witnesses and
Anderson's own damning jailhouse confessions to portray him as a
calculating serial child predator.
police detective Jolene Spears testified that Anderson was already
serving a 251-year prison sentence for the August 2000 abduction of
an 8-year-old Vallejo girl as she walked home from Highland
was convicted in 2001 of dragging the girl into his tan four-door
Oldsmobile sedan and spiriting her away to Santa Clara County, where
he repeatedly molested her during a two-day ordeal. The girl freed
herself from a leg shackle when her abductor briefly left the parked
car in Santa Clara, and she flagged down a passing trucker, who
were investigating the kidnapping of the girl who escaped, Spears
testified, a third girl, also an 8-year-old attending Highland
school, came forward to identify Anderson out of a photo lineup as a
man who briefly lured her into a brown four-door sedan on her way to
school, Spears said.
learned of the third girl after her foster mother told them that a
news reporter had approached her and said Anderson had told him
about the kidnap attempt during a jailhouse interview.
said the man, who used a cane, had asked her to help him reach a
roll of tape on the front seat of his car to help fix a broken
passenger window. As the girl crawled into the car, Spears testified,
the man tried to shut the door behind her. But when another car
drove up, he backed off, gave the girl $5 and let her go. He was
never charged in the attempted abduction.
who severely injured his right hip during a 1999 motorcycle accident,
used a cane at the time and was seated during Tuesday's hearing in a
Constantinides noted that the kidnappings of Xiana and the 8-year-old
girl -- and the attempted abduction of the third girl -- had all
occurred on Thursdays.
Anderson's defense attorneys say he's just made up bogus confessions
to "play games" with authorities, he may ultimately be done in by
his own words. Police often secretly recorded Anderson's jailhouse
admissions to reporters, and now investigators are attempting to
show that the defendant gave reliable clues about how he allegedly
abducted and killed Xiana.
police Detective James Matthews Jr. testified that a fellow inmate
at Corcoran State Prison named Louis Oliverez had told investigators
last year about Anderson's bragging that he had videotaped Xiana's
who during an interview with a reporter compared himself with
infamous serial killers like Ted Bundy, also claimed to have gotten
away with murdering 15 total victims. He's been charged only with
said he tied (Xiana) up, gave her some drugs and asphyxiated her
while having sex with her,'' Matthews recounted Oliverez telling him.
Anderson allegedly bragged "that he wanted to see her die while he
was having sex with her,'' Matthews testified.
then claimed "he cut off her head with a large knife,'' Matthews
said. "He said that it was harder than he thought, even though she
was a young girl. He thought it would be easier, because of the size
of her neck.''
Earlier in the day, the
defendant's brother, Zack Anderson, 42, testified that six months
after Xiana's disappearance, Curtis Anderson had told him: "I took
that girl." But Zack Anderson said he didn't believe his brother,
because of his habit of telling tall tales.
Guilty Plea In
Xiana Fairchild Murder
Convicted felon Curtis Dean
Anderson pleaded guilty Thursday to the 1999 kidnapping, molestation
and murder of 7-year-old Xiana Fairchild.
Anderson, 44, already is in
prison serving a 251-year sentence for kidnapping and sexually
assaulting another Vallejo girl in 2000. In May, he pleaded not
guilty to the charges in the Fairchild case. His trial was set for
early next year.
Prosecutor Charles Constantinides
said Anderson pleaded guilty Thursday to first-degree murder,
kidnapping and child molestation and was sentenced to 50
years-to-life in prison.
"He's never flat-out said, 'Yeah,
I did it,' before," Constantinides said.
Xiana disappeared while on her
way to school in December 1999. Her fate remained a mystery until
her skull was discovered more than a year later.
After Anderson was arrested in
2000 on charges he kidnapped another girl, he boasted to reporters
that he killed Xiana. He told one reporter he drugged Xiana, then
put her body in a bag and tossed it down an embankment,
investigators said. But they couldn't corroborate his stories until
Anderson also tried to extort
weekly payments from Xiana's great-aunt, Stephanie Kahalekulu, in
exchange for guaranteeing her safety, investigators said.
Kahalekulu was in court Thursday,
Family Of Xiana
Fairchild Reacts To Guilty Plea
Curtis Dean Anderson's sudden
guilty plea today to charges he kidnapped, molested and murdered
7-year-old Xiana Fairchild in 1999 came as a surprise and a relief
to her family.
"You never would have thought you
would hear him say he was guilty," Xiana's great aunt, Stephanie
Kahalekulu, said this afternoon. "He was just too cocky for that.
Something's happened. He didn't have the threat of the death
Following his plea today,
Anderson was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison. The Santa
Clara County district attorney's office decided not to seek the
death penalty for Anderson for several reasons, including his health
and out of concern for another of his victims.
Anderson is already serving a
251-year prison sentence for kidnapping and molesting a
now-13-year-old Vallejo girl who escaped from him in Santa Clara in
August 2000. Prosecutors wanted to protect her from having to
testify at a high-profile trial.
Chief Assistant District Attorney
Karyn Sinunu said Xiana's family wanted Anderson to admit
responsibility for her murder. Anderson is also ill and would likely
not be executed even if had had been convicted and sentenced to
"We believe that he would not
live out the appellate process as it is in California," Sinunu said.
Kahalekulu agreed, saying, "It
takes 20 to 25 years to be put to death. I don't know if Anderson is
going to last that long."
"I have mixed feelings about it,"
she said. "It meant a lot to hear him say that he is guilty for what
he has done. I hope (prison) is made a very uncomfortable place for
At his preliminary hearing in
April, prosecutors presented evidence that Anderson bragged about
strangling Xiana while he was molesting her and filming the entire
He also bragged to a fellow
inmate at Corcoran State Prison that he decapitated Xiana after
killing her, according to testimony during the hearing. He also
allegedly claimed to have killed 15 people during his lifetime.
Xiana disappeared from her Vallejo
neighborhood in December 1999. Her remains were found in Santa Clara
County, above Lexington Reservoir, in 2001.
Prosecutors, family react to Anderson plea
Curtis Dean Anderson's sudden guilty plea today to charges he
kidnapped, molested and murdered 7-year-old Xiana Fairchild in 1999
came as a surprise and a relief to her family.
never would have thought you would hear him say he was guilty,''
Xiana's great aunt, Stephanie Kahalekulu, said this afternoon. "He
was just too cocky for that. Something's happened. He didn't have
the threat of the death penalty.''
Following his plea today, Anderson was sentenced to 50 years to life
in prison. The Santa Clara County district attorney's office decided
not to seek the death penalty for Anderson for several reasons,
including his health and out of concern for another of his victims.
Anderson is already serving a 251-year prison sentence for
kidnapping and molesting a now-13-year-old Vallejo girl who escaped
from him in Santa Clara in August 2000. Prosecutors wanted to
protect her from having to testify at a high-profile trial.
Assistant District Attorney Karyn Sinunu said Xiana's family wanted
Anderson to admit responsibility for her murder. Anderson is also
ill and would likely not be executed even if had had been convicted
and sentenced to death.
believe that he would not live out the appellate process as it is in
California,'' Sinunu said.
Kahalekulu agreed, saying, "It takes 20 to 25 years to be put to
death. I don't know if Anderson is going to last that long.''
have mixed feelings about it," she said. "It meant a lot to hear him
say that he is guilty for what he has done. I hope (prison) is made
a very uncomfortable place for him.''
his preliminary hearing in April, prosecutors presented evidence
that Anderson bragged about strangling Xiana while he was molesting
her and filming the entire incident.
also bragged to a fellow inmate at Corcoran State Prison that he
decapitated Xiana after killing her, according to testimony during
the hearing. He also allegedly claimed to have killed 15 people
during his lifetime.
disappeared from her Vallejo neighborhood in December 1999. Her
remains were found in Santa Clara County, above Lexington Reservoir,
Memory of slain girl
lives on in 'Angel Tree'
Relatives of child killed in 1999 take
comfort in ensuring needy children receive gifts on holiday
By Rich Freedman - MediaNews Staff
Sun, Dec. 17, 2006
VALLEJO - From new bikes to dolls and
clothes, most of the gifts were gone by noon Saturday, handed to
grateful parents and wide-eyed children.
And, for the sixth holiday season, Stephanie
Kahalekulu was able to put a comforting smile on her eternal pain.
Because of her "Xiana Angel Tree," nearly
200 low-income Vallejo families had Christmas gifts.
"The hard part is that we're doing this in
Xiana's memory rather than having her here," Kahalekulu said. "It
still hits you every once in awhile that she died. That she was
killed and these (annual events) are in her memory."
Xiana Fairchild, the 7-year-old Vallejo girl
kidnapped Dec. 9, 1999, and murdered, was, technically, Kahalekulu's
great-niece, though Kahalekulu would become "mom" to the girl. Xiana
was born while her biological mother, Antoinette Robinson, was in
prison. She was reunited with her mother six months before her
Rarely is Xiana out of Kahalekulu's mind,
particularly during the Angel Tree. Kahalekulu's 14-year-old
daughter, Aubri, and son, Devan, 21, assisted in gift distribution
at IBEW Hall in Vallejo.
"I fade in and out during the whole thing,"
Kahalekulu said. "I can still picture Xiana walking up and saying,
'Hi, mommy.' I go in and out. I'll sometimes stand on the side and
Kahalekulu received significant donations
for this year's "Angel Tree" from the Hiddenbrooke community,
various police officers who had worked on the Xiana case,
firefighters, city officials and the district attorney's office.
About $10,000 in gifts were purchased and
wrapped, said Kahalekulu, who received the list of needy families
from the school district.
"This was the least stress year I've had,"
she said. "It's actually gone pretty well."
For the most part, parents and children are
thrilled, Kahalekulu said. One parent handed her a thank-you letter
and volunteered to help next year.
"A lot of parents say 'thank you, thank you,
thank you' because their child wasn't going to get very much for
Christmas," Kahalekulu said. "And the kids are very thankful. This
is for the most needy."
Kahalekulu said she realizes the fruits of
her efforts Christmas Day.
"Then I can sit down and picture all 180 of
these children opening their gifts," she said. "It's a neat feeling.
And I picture Xiana watching what's happening."
Vallejo city employee Deborah Marshall has
assisted Kahalekulu on the "Angel Tree" since the first year.
"I love doing this," Marshall said. "I like
the reason we do it. I like why it's done. The fact it represents
Xiana. I think it's a good thing."
Intense national media attention and a Bay
Area manhunt followed Xiana's kidnapping until the girl's remains
were found in the Santa Cruz mountains in January 2001.
Former Vallejo cab driver Curtis Dean
Anderson was arrested for the crime in May 2004. Anderson, who was
already serving a 251-year sentence for kidnapping another Vallejo
girl in August 2000, was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison
after pleading guilty to Xiana's murder.
Vallejo Sexual Predator Curtis Dean Anderson Dies
Dec 11, 2007
A former cab driver sentenced to more than 300 years in prison for
kidnapping and sexually assaulting two young girls died Tuesday in a
Prison officials say 46-year-old Curtis Dean Anderson had been
receiving treatment at the undisclosed hospital since November 28th.
Anderson was serving a 251-year sentence for kidnapping and sexually
assaulting an 8-year-old Vallejo girl in 2000. The victim was
shackled to the front seat of Anderson's car for two days and
managed to escape by getting hold of the keys, flagging down a
passing truck and diving through the open window.
Two years ago, Anderson was sentenced to another 50-years to life
after pleading guilty to the 1999 kidnapping, molestation and murder
of 7-year-old Xiana Fairchild.
Xiana disappeared while on her way to school in San Jose. Her fate
remained a mystery until her skull was discovered more than a year