A man whose daughter has been missing since she disappeared from Caroline County more than 13 years ago can finally get a good night's sleep.
Yesterday, Joe Marto got the news he has been waiting for for years. Virginia State Police charged Lawrence Gaudenzi, 44, with murder in the January 1995 disappearance of his wife, Marto's daughter, Lisa Kathy Gaudenzi.
"I knew someday it would come, but you don't know what a feeling this is," Marto said in a telephone interview from his home in New Jersey.
Lisa Gaudenzi was 31 when she disappeared. She has never been found, but Caroline County Commonwealth's Attorney Tony Spencer said he would pursue a murder conviction anyway, a rare step without a victim's body.
According to state police, Spencer recently presented evidence to a special grand jury, which then returned the indictment against the 44-year-0ld Gaudenzi. Spencer would not specify yesterday what new evidence he has.
He said Gaudenzi was arrested in Shenandoah County yesterday and would be held at the Pamunkey Regional Jail without bond.
Lisa Gaudenzi was last seen with her husband on Jan. 26, 1995, in Ruther Glen. She was reported missing when she failed to show up for scheduled officer training school with the Army.
Originally, the Caroline Sheriff's Office handled the case. State police began investigating in 1997.
According to online missing-person reports, Lawrence Gaudenzi told police he dropped his wife off at a Greyhound bus station in Richmond for a trip to Fort Lee. Police later determined, however, that there was no bus that took that route, according to the reports.
Lisa Gaudenzi's father and stepmother have been active in the search. They started a Web site, findinglisa.com, and posted information to the Doe Network, an online database of missing persons.
As recently as last May, Nancy Marto did a radio interview about the case. In it, she said that shortly before her stepdaughter's disappearance, Lisa Gaudenzi asked the baby sitter to keep their infant daughter, Shelby Marie, overnight.
Nancy Marto said the baby sitter later told her that Lisa Gaudenzi had said, "I'm going to ask Lawrence for a divorce."
The next day, Lisa Gaudenzi disappeared.
Since then, Marto alleged in the interview, Lawrence Gaudenzi has changed his name to Randy Lee Evans and changed his daughter's name, too.
Spencer confirmed that Lawrence Gaudenzi and the girl have been living in the Rockingham County area.
Joe Marto said yesterday that he doesn't know what will happen to his granddaughter, but that she gets along well with the woman who has been living with Lawrence Gaudenzi.
According to court records, Lawrence Gaudenzi has a long criminal history in both Virginia and New Jersey that includes multiple convictions for forgery, perjury and unlawful possession of a firearm.
He will be arraigned on the murder charge in Caroline Circuit Court on Wednesday, Spencer said.
Joe Marto said he plans to attend future court hearings.
"I wouldn't miss it for the world," he said.