El Salvador - Imelda Lopez Lainez (Gina Marie Craig) case

Girl stolen in the civil war is located by her birth family.

''We were able to heal her of her war wounds, to educate her and to bring her up in the faith of the church,'' Tom and Stephanie Craig wrote in a letter to Jose and Victoria Lainez, expressing their happiness at the way things have turned out. ''But we were never able to mend her broken heart.''

She has reminders on her hip and calf: scars of the aerial bombing that left her paralyzed from the knee down until her injuries were corrected by surgery in the US. Earlier that day, she and her family, militia members of the rebel Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, or FMLN, had been building trenches, trying to shield themselves from the strafing and bombs of the Salvadoran Air Force.

Gina remembers being shot, but her parents and her sister Blanca said a bomb struck nearby. A shrapnel fragment passed through her 8-year-old sister Vilma's eye, killing her instantly. Gina, who was 6, was hit in the hip and the leg. In the frantic, blurry moments that followed, an uncle picked her up and carried her to a FMLN field hospital hidden near the Pacific Ocean in the southern province of Usulutan.

"We went to visit her to make sure she was all right," said her father, Jose, his eyes tearing during an interview in his home near the city of San Vicente. "I remember they had cut her hair, and she was crying and crying. She begged us to take her because she was afraid they were going to kill her, but I couldn't. I just couldn't take the child. She was hurt and it would have been dangerous. And we didn't have enough to eat."

he next day, June 15, 1984, soldiers attacked the hospital. When Gina's relatives arrived, they found only the body of a nurse. The rest of the hospital was demolished and vacant.

According to court records, Gina was taken to a hospital in Usulutan. Although soldiers may have been acting out of concern for her welfare, they also set her on the path that would erase her identity. As she was apparently unable to remember her last name, someone changed it from Imelda Lopez Lainez to Imelda Betty Rubio. From the hospital she was taken to a state-run orphanage called Rosa Virginia Peletier, outside San Salvador, the capital.
Date: 1994-06-15
Number of children: 1

Orphanages

Agencies

Organizations: Concern for Children

Facilitators

Persons: Yolanda Myers de Vasquez, judge

Location

Usulutan
El Salvador
DocumentDatesort icon
ADOPTEE TO BE REUNITED WITH SALVADORAN MOTHER 2000-10-30
Healing ...on reuniting Salvadorans1999-11-08
ANSWERS RAISE MORE QUESTIONS 1996-08-10
El Salvador's Stolen Children Face a War's Darkest Secret1996-08-05
SOME ADMIT KNOWING OF KIDNAPPINGS 1996-08-02
LOST AND FOUND SALVADORAN ADOPTEES NOW BEING RECLAIMED 1996-08-02
El Salvador girl abducted in '84 war rejoins parents 1996-07-20
IN LANGUAGE OF LOVE, A SALVADORAN REUNION OHIO TEEN-AGER, `DISAPPEARED,' REDISCOVERS HER PARENTS 1996-07-19
`IMELDA (GINA)' STRUGGLES FOR IDENTITY 1996-07-15
A COUNTRY AWAKES TO THE REALITY OF IT'S `DISAPPEARED' CHILDREN 1996-07-14
War Orphan (60 minutes story)1996-00-00
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Location

Pound Pup Legacy