Inside the Messy Fight to Adopt a 9/11 Victim's Child

Claire Gorayeb has been in long legal battle with girl's biological father

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted May 15, 2013 10:55 AM CDT

(Newser) – When Catherine Gorayeb died in the World Trade Center on 9/11, the single mom left a 2-year-old behind. Her sister, Claire—three months pregnant herself—immediately moved from Boston to New York City to take care of Gorayeb's daughter, was quickly appointed her niece's legal guardian, and started the process of adopting her in 2004. But nearly a decade later, she's still fighting to adopt the girl, now 14. DNAinfo explains why: Edward Kranz, the banker whose fling with Catherine Gorayeb resulted in her pregnancy, showed a sudden interest in his daughter after learning in 2004 that her mother died in the Twin Towers—despite the fact that he had initially denied fathering the girl, then gave up his custody rights in January 2000 so that he wouldn't have to pay child support after a DNA test showed he was likely the father.

In addition to Kranz, a further complication involves a court-appointed guardian who has been scrutinizing how Claire Gorayeb used the nearly $2 million her niece was awarded from the 9/11 victims compensation fund: $900,000 was spent on an Upper West Side apartment (it's in both her and her niece's name). DNAinfo notes that less than two weeks after the girl was awarded the money, Kranz, who filed for bankruptcy that same year, resurfaced. He explains his long absence by saying he hadn't planned on reaching out to her til she turned five. Today, Kranz and Gorayeb will both be in Manhattan Surrogate's Court for a best interest hearing; Kranz says the adoption shouldn't go forward because Gorayeb hasn't allowed him to visit his child.

Names of victims are shown at the 9/11 Memorial in New York.
Names of victims are shown at the 9/11 Memorial in New York.   (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
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