A 5-year-old boy who was kidnapped back in 1994 has been discovered to be alive and well, married, and living under a new identity.
The boy, who was abducted from his home in Indiana nearly 19 years ago by his grandparents, has been discovered to be living under a different name 680 miles away in Minnesota.
Richard Landers, Jr. was only 5 when his grandparents took him and fled their trailer in Wolcottville, Indiana, only taking a couple of suitcases of clothes with them.
Now living in Long Prairie, Minnesota, the 24-year-old was Landers was finally discovered by detectives, and he is married with a kid on the way.
Landers admitted he knew his real name the whole time, but had been living under a different alias for nearly two decades.
“He appears to be well adjusted, there was no indication or signs of any kind of abuse over the years,” said Indiana State Police Sgt. Ron Galaviz. “It just appears on its face that his grandparents raised him as their own child over these last 18 years.”
According to detectives, Landers’ paternal grandparents, Richard and Ruth Landers, were raising the child in Indiana – but his mother was working to regain custody of him in 1994.
The abduction occurred just days before Landers’ mother was due to take him for a one week visitation.
The child had disappeared without a trace, with no visible leads in sight.
The break in the case came in September 2012, when the boy’s step-father came to Indiana State Police with the missing child’s social security card.
Indiana State Police detectives soon discovered that the social security number was being used by someone in Minnesota with the same birthday as Richard, but under a different name.
When local Minnesota police tracked down the man using the social security number, he admitted that he was Landers.
The grandparents are not facing charges in Indiana, however, as they were dropped years ago when the boy could not be found, and the statute of limitations has since expired, so they cannot be charged again.
The US Attorney and authorities in Minnesota, however, are still investigating the case.
Police do not know if Landers plans on reuniting with his biological mother.
“To get this dropped in his lap at age 24,after all these years, God knows that it’s something he’ll have work out for himself,” Galaviz said.
James Gilbert | Elite.