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Fragments of a troubled young life emerge, but mysteries about Anderson Aldrich remain

Summer Lin and Grace Toohey, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

Aldrich was born May 20, 2000, to Laura Voepel and Aaron Brink in California, according to Orange County court records. The next year, Brink filed for divorce, and Voepel was given full custody of their child, with no visitation rights granted to Brink.

In the following years, Aldrich moved around with their mother to Texas and then to Colorado, at times living with their maternal grandmother. They also have a younger brother, according to Voepel’s Facebook page.

Aldrich is the grandchild of California Assemblyman Randy Voepel, R-Santee, an aide for the legislator told The Times on Monday. The outgoing state representative previously aligned himself with the tea party movement and later drew criticism for comments that likened the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol to the shots fired at “Lexington and Concord” in the Revolutionary War. He declined to comment further about his grandchild Monday, the aide said.

Aldrich’s parents have criminal records, court records show. Laura Voepel was found guilty of a reduced charge of criminal mischief in San Antonio and sentenced to five years of probation, according to court documents.

Brink, Aldrich’s father, also was arrested on drug-related charges and other crimes. Brink was an MMA fighter, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. He appeared in an episode of the reality TV series “Intervention,” according to his IMDb page.

Court records in Bexar County, Texas, show Aldrich filed to formally change their name six years ago to Anderson Lee Aldrich. The request was approved May 4, 2016.

 

According to the Associated Press, a petition for the name change said Aldrich wanted to protect their future “from any connections to birth father and his criminal history. Father has had no contact with minor for several years.”

The Washington Post reported that Aldrich had endured a “particularly vicious bout of online bullying.”

The attorney who represented the family in the case did not respond to questions from The Times.

Kristen Browde, an attorney and chair of the National Trans Bar Assn., said that regardless of Aldrich’s gender identity, “one’s membership in a protected group in no way obviates the possibility that the crime the individual commits is motivated by hatred.”

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