The public attending the premiere of “Little Girl Lost: the Delimar Vera Story” at the National Constitution Center, were moved by this story that narrates the incredible incident experienced by a Hispanic Family in North Philadelphia, which took the whole country by surprise.
In 1997, when Delimar was 10 days old, she was presumed to have died in a fire that completely destroyed the home of her parents, Luz Cuevas and Pedro Vera, who were at that time married.
Around that time, the Philadelphia Fire Department theorized that because she was such a small baby, she had been completely consumed by the flames.
Cuevas, the baby’s mother, however, thought differently and ensured that her child had been stolen on the night the fire destroyed her home.
“When I went into the room on the night of the fire, the window was open and her cradle was empty”, Cuevas, who never lost hope, stated.
Six years later, at a birthday party, Cuevas saw a little girl that was the age that Delimar would have been. “As soon as I saw her, I felt that she was my child”, she told AL DÍA four years ago.
Guided by her maternal instinct, she took some strands of hair from the child with the purpose of performing a DNA test.
Despite the lack of support she received, Cuevas did not give up and requested the assistance of District 80 state representative Ángel Cruz, who assisted her in getting her case to the stage of investigation and to the court.
The test proved to be promising for Cuevas and evidenced that Carolyn Correa, a relative of Delimar’s father, was not the child’s mother. Correa had kidnapped Delimar for six years.
Today, the story produced by Lifetime, on TV, revisits the drama of this story.
“The proposal to turn my story into a movie was presented to me since the beginning and it took me a long time to decide. It was hard because when we saw it for the first time, we began to cry and it was very hard to relive all that we had gone through. However, I don’t regret it because I believe that this may help other mothers to go on”, Cuevas ensured during the presentation of the movie in Philadelphia.
"I believe the movie sticks to what really happened most of the time, but… for example, I really didn’t like the beginning because on the day that my child was stolen there was no party being celebrated at my home. Only my two children, my mother-in-law, Caro, my baby and I were home. Also, I would have liked them to represent Pedro (Delimar's father) as he really was, because he did nothing to help me with my daughter’s situation”.
Correa, who had a criminal record before stealing Delimar, is currently serving a nine year sentence in a Philadelphia prison, convicted of kidnap and other crimes.
“I have never seen her again, and would never let my daughter go near her. I feel no resentment towards her, I prefer to forgive and not fill my heart with hate. She did something very painful to me, she took my daughter from me for six years, but I do not wish her harm and that is something I tell my daughter, that I feel no resentment towards her”, Cuevas stated.
She admits that she is surprised by how easily Delimar adapted to her "new familly".
“She was in therapy, they explained to her that I was her real mother and not Correa, and she was able to understand it. When they returned her to me, she asked me, “Are you my real mother? And afterwards, she gave me a hug”, Cuevas remembered.
Cuevas and Delimar travelled to Hollywood last week for the premiere of the movie and say they are living a whole new experience surrounded by good people.
“The money I received for the movie is not enough to quit my job, but I wanted to do it because I believe it may at some time help my daughter”, Cuevas said.
Cuevas wanted to send a message to all those mothers whose children are lost:
“They told me that I was crazy, that I had gone mad due to postpartum depression. But don’t give up, pray to God for help and never stop believing”.
The movie features Judy Reyes (as Luz Cuevas) from the TV series Scrubs, Ana Ortiz (as Carolyn Correa) from Ugly Betty and A Martínez (as Ángel Cruz) from the TV series General Hospital and will be broadcasted by Lifetime Channel next Sunday, August 17, at 8:00pm.