Yet who will ultimately raise him - a biological parent, a relative, or a Salt Lake City couple hoping to adopt - may still be in question.
Third District Judge Bruce Lubeck ruled late last month that he can't terminate the parental rights of either of Anthony's biological parents, which would have allowed the couple who has raised him since he was 3 months old to adopt him. Yet the judge has said the boy will continue to live with the couple.
Neither biological parent received visitation rights.
"He's essentially a foster child," said Utahn Rachel Sullivan, who conceived Anthony as part of a surrogacy deal with a Nevada man.
The adoptive couple's attorney could not be reached for comment. Sullivan's attorney, David Wilde, said an appeal of Lubeck's ruling is planned.
"I think it is very strange," he said of the ruling. "The problem for everybody, and I sympathize with Judge Lubeck, is there is no case law in Utah that deals with this."
In a 34-page ruling, Lubeck said he could find nothing in the law to allow a termination of rights or an adoption in Anthony's case. That left him to consider the child's best interests. Lubeck found the strongest mutual bonds between the boy and the couple caring for him, which is one factor state judges examine.
The unusual case began when Arthuro Nuosci, a Canadian citizen living in Las Vegas, paid Sullivan $23,000 to carry his child. The two had met on a Web site where Nuosci, a gay man living with his partner, had called himself Landon Brandolucci.
Just before Sullivan would have surrendered her rights to the baby in a Nevada hearing, Brandolucci was arrested for making a false application for a U.S. passport. Jailed since then, he has said he intended to return to Canada with his son to visit family there.
Federal prosecutors allege "Brandolucci" is one of many aliases Nuosci, convicted of fraud in Canada in the 1990s, has used while in the United States illegally. He has pleaded not guilty to a 20-count federal indictment that includes fraud and identity theft charges.
Sullivan brought Anthony back to Utah and cared for him for a month before placing the boy with the couple who wanted to adopt.
She later changed her mind, leaving her in a custody fight with Nuosci and his relatives and the adoptive couple. Saying he desperately wants to raise his son, Nuosci has asked a sister, Dolores Rizzi, to care for the boy until he is free.
The case grew more complicated earlier this year, when Lubeck ruled the surrogacy agreement signed between Nuosci and Sullivan was illegal under both Nevada and Utah law. The judge has also found relinquishment papers Sullivan had signed for Anthony were not legally executed.
Rizzi has also alleged Sullivan, a single mother of two, threatened to sell the boy to the highest bidder. Sullivan denies the claim, and Lubeck did not rule on the issue.
"The court is simply not able to determine if she did this entire surrogacy because of a true desire to help another or if she did it for money," Lubeck wrote. "There are accusations of extortion, and at the very end of this birth she was involved with another single person negotiating surrogacy. . . . She may well be a good parent to her two children, but again her willingness to function as a parent as to this child is very suspect to the court."
Sullivan, 26, says she was confused but had Anthony's best interests at heart when she placed him with the couple.
"Adoption is a permanent solution to temporary problems, either financial or emotional," she said. "At the time I was just in such an emotional crisis that I wasn't thinking clearly. I do want to be a part of his life."
Lubeck's ruling rebuked Nuosci for sending the couple a note asking them to tell his son hello - along with clippings of news articles about missing children.
"It was a threat, of the most vile and mean-spirited kind," the judge wrote. "His exact intent need not be discerned or discussed . . . but the letter to the [couple] shows he is not entitled to be grouped with the class of people known as parents who care about their children more than they care about themselves."
Attorney David Dolowitz, who represents Nuosci in the case, called the ruling a deprivation of parental rights. He, too, plans an appeal.
The biological parents "are not given any visitation, so how are they connected with their child?" he asked. "The irony of it is in my view, I filed on behalf of Mr. Nuosci . . . six months ago. The courts took a long time to resolve it, and that was used against him."
Psychologist Doug Goldsmith of Salt Lake City's The Children's Center, who has no connection to the case, said in general a child's attachment with a caregiver begins at birth, with differentiation between caregivers and others at around 9 months of age.
"We know that infants are able to observe interactions with mom and dad and experience stress when one is not there," he said. "On the positive side, research is beginning to show us that 1-year-olds and sometimes up to the age of 2, if they had - underline had - to be moved, are capable of being pretty resilient if they are put with another warm, nurturing caregiver - another very important if."
The choices facing the legal system are difficult ones, Goldsmith said. "The biggest problem we have in terms of moving children," he said, "is we don't have any way to predict how many moves and caregivers it would take before it causes a problem."