Thursday, after learning he was living in Minnesota under a different name, an Indiana woman whose young son was abducted 19 years ago screamed and “jumped up and down”, according to her husband.
Richard Wayne Landers Jr. was just 5 years old when he and his grandparents on his father’s side disappeared from Wolcottville, a town about an hour’s drive out of Fort Wayne. Indiana State Police discovered the now 24-year-old Landers living in Long Prairie, Minnesota, partially thanks to his Social Security number. His grandparents had been living under aliases in a nearby town and confirmed the man’s identity.
The grandparents may face charges as the investigation develops, says the Houston Chronicle.
Landers’ mother, Lisa Harter, was overjoyed when investigators told her a few days ago that her son had been found, her husband Richard Harter told the press over the telephone.
Harter said he and his wife had been working with an attorney and hoped to meet his stepson as soon as possible. Police declined to release the names under which he and his grandparents had been living, as they said Landers is married and expecting his first child.
The grandparents were said to have taken the boy from their home in Wolcottville and fled. They had faced a misdemeanor for their actions, which was bumped up to a felony in 1999. In 2008 after the case went cold, the charge was dismissed. Police spokesman Sergeant Ron Galaviz said it appears the boy’s father was never in his life. According to FOX News, the Social Security number and date of birth were combined with a driver’s license photo for the man appeared to resemble Landers, and there the search was over. Galaviz said:
“By all accounts, it didn’t appear he suffered from any abuse, either physical or mental.”