Boy abducted 19 years ago found safe

Richard Wayne Landers, Jr.
Richard Wayne Landers, Jr.

WOLCOTTVILLE, IN (CNN/NBC) - A boy abducted by his paternal grandparents 19 years ago has been found.

Officials say Richard Wayne Landers, Jr. was abducted in Wolcottville, Indiana at the age of 5 during a custody dispute in 1994.

The grandparents were charged at the time with misdemeanor interference with custody, but the charge was dismissed in 2008 after the case went cold.

Police say the now 24-year-old man was located in Long Prairie, Minnesota in October and is now married and expecting his first child.

He was living under a different name, but had the same social security number.

The grandparents, who were also living under aliases nearby, confirmed his identity.

For 19 years, Indiana State Police searched for him. According to a news release on the state police website, a detective was given Landers' Social Security card. He matched it to a 24-year-old man in central Minnesota about 100 miles from Minneapolis.

Police looked at the man's driver's license photo. It could be him, they thought, comparing it to the photo of Landers as a boy.

Some months of detective work followed and police found the grandparents and Landers.

Police say the Landers family never gave up hope that they would find him.

"You've got a family out there that's really been grieving non-stop for the last 18 years," said Indiana State Police Sgt. Ron Galaviz. "They've not given up hope, they've not given up bringing in any tidbits of information to investigators. We want to be able to close those case files. I can tell you right now there are a lot of happy law enforcement officials in LaGrange County right now."

Police would not say whether the grandparents would face charges since it is an ongoing investigation.

Officials say while there are no real plans for any kind of reunion at this point. An attorney is working with landers' mother to reunite her with her son.

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