Nathan Slinkard returned home to Indiana on Tuesday, 18 years after his mother abducted him and his brother and sister. He was five years old the last time he saw his father. In 1995, Steven and Trena Slinkard were going through a nasty custody battle. Steven won custody of their three children, Nathan (five), Sydney (three), and Andrew (seven). Trena took the three children and vanished in October of that year.
Nathan Slinkard’s return home to Greenfield, Indiana, came as a shock to Hancock County Sheriff’s Lt. Ted Munden. Munden was the most recent investigator to look into the case of the missing family. As far as they knew, the 18 year abduction had gone cold. They believed Trena had taken the children to Mexico, but resources and proof were limited. Until January 27th, when Munden received an email saying that a young man named Nathan Slinkard was in Guadalajara, Mexico and wanted to return home.
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Munden was able to confirm the 23-year-old’s identity through a birth certificate, social security card, and several surgical scars. Although Steven Slinkard has made no official comment to the media, Munden spoke about his feelings after the return. “It was just really rewarding,” Munden said, “not so much for me, but for the dad. It’s been good.”
Trena Slinkard still faces a class D felony charge for violating a custody order. The 46-year-old mother originally had two federal charges against her for unlawful flight, but those were dropped by 2006, one year before Munden took over the case. Nathan Slinkard told authorities that he was allowed by his mother to return home at anytime, but that now was the right time because he wanted to start a new life.
Slinkard is able to speak both spanish and english and is now living at home with his dad for the time being. He says that both his siblings are free to do as they want and that their mother never spoke badly of their father. It remains unclear whether the family stayed together as they got older or if they broke up. The young man preferred not to talk about the situation with his siblings and instead wanted to focus on his future. He hope to enter the medical field.
Steven Slinkard was nervous before picking up his son at the airport in Indianapolis. He asked Munden, “[What] do I do? Do I shake his hand or give him a hug?”
Munden replied, “You will know when you see him.”
As Nathan Slinkard returns home after being gone for 18 years, he has a lot of catching up to do with his father.