NOVEMBER 25, 05:23 EST

Interstate Custody Feud Settled

Associated Press Writer

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Ending three years of interstate wrangling, a mother whose teen-age son refuses to visit her in Florida where his sister was killed in 1988 has dropped her custody claim.

The estranged parents of Arash Rivazfar, 15, have battled over custody since 1995 when he and his older sister, Sayeh, stopped making periodic visits to their mother in Pensacola, Fla.

The children, who live with their father in Rochester, contend Patricia Pafford was abusive and blamed her for not protecting them from her ex-boyfriend.

The boyfriend, Raymond Wike, abducted Sayeh and her sister, Sara, from their apartment in 1988, raped them and slashed their throats. Sara, 6, was killed and Sayeh, then 8, was seriously injured. He was convicted in 1989 and sentenced to death.

After the father, Ahmad Rivazfar, was repeatedly cited for contempt for not delivering the children to the mother, a Florida court granted Ms. Pafford custody of the two The New York Court of Appeals ruled in December that New York had jurisdiction over the case and ordered a new hearing.

Under a settlement finalized Tuesday in Family Court, Ahmad Rivazfar will have custody of his son. Sayeh, now 19, has been free to live where she wants since turning 18.

``Everyone came to the realization that the likelihood that the children were going to make it down to Florida to visit their mother, which is what she wanted, was slim,'' said the boy's attorney, Matt Parrinello.

In addition, contempt citations issued in Florida against the father and a neglect petition in New York against the mother were dropped.

New York courts will handle any further disagreements and the family will attend therapy sessions here, probably beginning next month, according to the settlement.