Curtis Dean Anderson, who was serving a combined 301-year sentence for the 1999 kidnap and murder of 7-year-old Xiana Fairchild of Vallejo and a separate case involving another girl, died Tuesday, authorities said.
Anderson, 46, died at 6:41 a.m. at a Bakersfield hospital, where he had been admitted Nov. 28, said Lt. Brian Parriott, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections.
His death came two days after the anniversary of Xiana’s abduction, which her loved ones marked Sunday with an annual pilgrimage to the site near the Lexington Reservoir in Los Gatos where her skull was found in 2001.
“I just can’t help but think that it was for Xiana, the way that it happened, the date that it happened, and it is for justice for Xiana,” said her great-aunt, Stephanie Kahalekulu, with whom Xiana lived most of her life. “Had it happened in any other part of the year, it would have been that he just died,” she said. Anderson had been held at the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility in Corcoran. The cause of death was not immediately disclosed, although Anderson had been frail and was wheelchair-bound. e died of natural causes, Parriott said. “It was an ongoing illness.”
Anderson was in California prisons 10 times between 1986 and 1999 for three convictions and parole violations, including a series of allegations of violence against women.
That arrest was less than nine months after Anderson had been paroled for the abduction of a family friend.
Anderson went on to make a series of claims about involvement in Xiana’s Dec. 9, 1999, disappearance. In a series of taunting jailhouse meetings with Kahalekulu from October through December 2000 during an attempt to make a deal with prosecutors, Anderson insisted Xiana was alive. “He would write to my (post office) box, just his own crazy mentally ill mind, basically tormenting and saying she would be hurt,” Kahalekulu said. “For those two months, he kept claiming she was alive, that he had given her to someone else, and that he had contact and that he could tell them to torture her,” she said.
At one point, police waited outside as Anderson met with her, in case he gave information they could act on immediately. “I bought her new clothes and packed everything,” Kahalekulu recalled. “We weren’t sure. We all believed he had her and he was going to release her.” In 2001, Anderson was convicted and sentenced to 251 years in prison for kidnapping and molesting the 8-year-old Vallejo girl.
A special task force found witnesses and evidence that confirmed Anderson’s previous claims about Xiana, and in May 2004 he was charged with her murder. In 2005, he pleaded guilty to kidnapping and murder and was sentenced to 50 years to life.
Hours later, he recanted to reporters in a jailhouse interview.