Abducted boy had been living in Ohio under an assumed name since 2002.
A five-year-old boy went missing from his Birmingham, Alabama, home in 2002, after his father, who was watching the boy, left a note telling the boy’s mother he had taken him and she had seen him for the last time.
Alabama officials say they had received hundreds of leads over the years, from as far away as Florida to Canada, and they followed up on each of them, but all turned out to be dead ends.
According to an AP story, Julian Hernandez had been living with his father, a woman and two other children, in Cleveland, Ohio, under assumed names since the abduction. It is unlikely that Julian even knew that he was listed as missing.
Julian had been doing very well in high school, but when he tried to complete a college application, there were some issues with his Social Security number. He sought advice from a school counselor to rectify the problem. The counselor realized his name was on a list of missing children by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, according to District Attorney Brandon Falls in Jefferson County, Alabama.
The boy’s father, Bobby Hernandez, has been charged with record tampering in Ohio, stemming from an attempt to get a Ohio Driver’s License back in 2012 and is being held under a $250,000 bond.
DA Falls said Alabama is seeking to charge Hernandez with interference with custody, a felony charge that can result in a prison term of one to ten years. Lt. Johnny Evans of the Vestavia Hills Police in Alabama, said they were in the process of filing the charges and once he is adjudicated in Ohio, they will seek to extradite him back to Alabama to face charges there.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for November 12. Hernandez was declared indigent and a court-appointed attorney will be handling the case.
Alabama police officials did not release the name and address of the boy’s mother, who is still living in the Birmingham area, as she had asked for privacy in the matter. Officials say they have been in contact with the mother and she was “quite ecstatic,” but hesitant, since there had been so many disappointments in the past.
Since Julian is eighteen and considered an adult, the next steps will be pretty much up to him. Lt. Evans said it was his decision as to whether he wants to come back to his mother after all this time or not.