In December 1997, Cristiano filed for a court order against yet another man, describing her relationship with him as "former dating." According to her statement: "On November 20, after trying to put his fist through my sliding glass door & repeatedly threatening to kick my face in & kicking my couch and walls & furniture, [the defendant] proceeded to kick my door in while I was on the phone with 911. Detectives with San Diego are compiling a stalking case against him & said they plan to arrest him after I file a new police report regarding this past weekend's 100+ phone calls including threats to 'cut' 'kick,' and 'rob' me (most are on audio tape). I fear for my/my son's safety & lives."
In a restraining-order case she filed in Santa Barbara superior court in June 1991, Cristiano, at the time known by her married name of Price, described a fight with Gina Carter, identified as an acquaintance. "On Friday, August 10, 1990, Gina Carter and myself were in Rosarito Beach, B.C. Mexico. We were on our first day vacationing together. That evening, after we had a couple of drinks (around 3-4) we got into a verbal confrontation. Gina got very violent, and with the help of a friend struck me repeatedly, pulled my hair, scratched up my face, smashed my rear window, my tail-light, cracked my windshield, and left me stranded in an alley alone.
"She threw my sole set of car keys into a drainage ditch, removed her belongings from my car, and left. When I finally retrieved my keys, I fled the area and took refuge in a hotel room with some sympathetic people. Later that night, my driver-side window was also smashed, and some locals said they saw a group of Americans, with a girl fitting Gina's description, in the parking lot when they heard the glass break. Since the incident, Gina has repeatedly attempted to reach me, had people lie and say they were my friends, harassed my roommates and my ex-husband. I haven't been able to go home where she can find me for fear of my own safety and that of my two young children.
"She somehow tracked down my ex-husband, with whom my children were staying, and lied to him about her reason for wanting to get a hold of me. I am supposed to get my children back and do not want them subjected to seeing the kind of violence she is capable of. I am in great fear for my families [sic] well being.
"I went to a San Diego hospital's emergency room and was treated for contusions and X-rayed on the 11th of August."
Carter denied Cristiano's claims. "I met Elana Price in a volleyball class we took this summer," Carter wrote in a declaration dated August 27, 1990. "On August 10, 1990, we were in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, on a camping trip. We drove down to Mexico in Price's car. We were in bar and she got drunk. She told me she was going to leave and come back later.
"I wanted to get my bike, which was locked in her car, so I walked toward the car. She started yelling obscenities and screamed at me to give her the car keys. Because of the way [she was] yelling I became scared, so I tossed her the keys. She missed them, and they dropped to the street.
"I kept walking to the car to get my belongings, and she attacked me from behind. Price bit me several times on the hand, cut my lips, and gave me several bruises on my head and body. I tryed [sic] to defend myself and may have hit her. Bystanders broke the fight up.
"She went to the car and began throwing some of my belongings on the street. I asked her to stop, and she tore my bathing suit top off, leaving me almost naked in the street. A police officer took me into the bar's office and gave me something to cover up.
"When we got back outside, Price was gone, along with my things. She still has a bike I borrowed from a friend, my tent, my Walkman and tapes, my camera, my address book, and miscellaneous clothing.
"She has not returned any of my things.
"I next saw her the next day but did not talk to her.
"I called her husband because his number was in the phone book and asked him to help me get my things back. He offered to come and get me out of Mexico because I didn't have a car and very little money.
"I had a friend come and get me and drive me home.
"I have never talked to Elana Price since that day. I have never called her home. I did not know her phone number and address until I was served with the court papers. I have never threatened her, her family, or her roommate, and in fact do not even know who they are.
"I just want her to return my belongings."
Asked about details of the Carter case last week, Cristiano replied, "To be perfectly blunt, I don't even remember." She said her problems with violent men began with her troubled childhood and later were reinforced by a bad marriage. "I've suffered from battered women's syndrome for a number of years, and that, obviously, has a huge part of some of the things I've been through. Lack of self-esteem and all of the things tied into battered women's syndrome that I struggled with for a number of years, beginning prior to my marriage all the way up through a few years ago, when I finally was able to overcome that."
Later she reflected, "I've had my share of challenges, Matt. But the reality is if you put it all into perspective and understand the things I've been through, I've done a very good job of overcoming a lot. It's unfortunate that there are what appear to be so many abusive people in the world, but I am certainly not guilty of anything but a couple of poor choices in terms of -- I've always thought that perhaps I have a 'jerk magnet' embedded in my forehead. I jokingly say that. But in reality, I believe that there's a set of circumstances -- including my physical appearance, my personality, my intelligence level -- that tend to be attractive to abusive men. And it's been a big struggle for me to try to overcome that, and it's unfortunate that I'm in the situation that I'm in now.