December 30, 2009 in Idaho

U.S. grandparents lose custody battle over Idaho orphans

Court lets children stay with grandmother in Argentina
Associated Press

BOISE — The Idaho Supreme Court says two orphaned Idaho children will remain with their grandmother in Argentina, not with family members in California who also wanted custody.

The Wednesday ruling means that Alden and Aliana Heiss will stay with Violeta Conti in Ushuaia, a region dubbed “the end of the world” by locals.

The children’s parents, Karl Heiss and Marisa Bauducco-Heiss, were killed in a car crash near Seattle last year. Aliana sustained catastrophic brain damage in the crash; Alden had whiplash but recovered fully.

The parents had handwritten wills granting custody to Conti, but paternal grandparents Fred and Anna Belle Heiss, of Malibu, Calif., sought custody, contending Aliana needed medical care only available in the U.S.

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