He said Pelaez plans to go back to Peru, where her family has a ranch, and where she hoped to continue writing for El Diario La Prensa, a well-known Spanish-language newspaper.
It was in Lima, the Peruvian capital, that the couple met in the early 1980s. The country was in turmoil, with leftist rebels ascendant. Vicky was working for Channel 2, Frecuencia Latina. The man she knew as Juan Lazaro was not only a talented freelance photographer but a karate black belt who taught the discipline to colleagues.
Delfina Prieto, who worked alongside Lazaro at the Peruvian magazine Punto, called him "a magnificent person, a great companion." She said he always looked out for her and, because she is short, once pulled her up on his shoulders at the presidential palace so she could get a good shot.
But she questioned his origin, as did others. "I would always think, 'This guy has a European accent,'" she said.
Cesar Medrano, another photographer who knew the couple, agreed. "He said he was Uruguayan, but he had a European accent. He looked German." Yet another colleague, Carlos Saavedra, said Lazaro never spoke about his past — "but we never asked."
Does that include Pelaez? It's not known what she knew of his origins. The federal complaint says agents intercepted a conversation inside the Yonkers home in 2002, where Lazaro was heard describing his childhood to Pelaez, saying: "We moved to Siberia ... as soon as the war started(.)"