Wednesday 21 August 2019

Boy who went missing in 2002 is found alive more than 13 years later

Julian aged five (left) and as he looks now (right)
Credit: National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children
Julian aged five (left) and as he looks now (right) Credit: National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children

Sarah-Jane Murphy

A boy who went missing from his home in Alabama in 2002 has been living in Cleveland more than thirteen years later.

Julian Hernandez was snatched by his non-custodial father when he was just five-years-old.

Authorities have learned that the pair lived under aliases for more than a decade.

When Hernandez disappeared from his home authorities conducted an extensive search, centered on Tampa and Key West in Florida.

When police found Hernandez and his father this week they were living in Cleveland, Ohio.

Police would not comment on his condition other than to say that he was unharmed.

Matt MeInyk, a neighbour who has been living next door to the family for several years, said he had no knowledge of the boy's background.

"I had absolutely no idea this was happening. His son was very quiet, and from what I know, he was a good student".

Suspicions were raised when Hernandez began his college applications, and the social security number he was given by his father didn't match official records.

This lead to the school counsellor contacting the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, who had originally been involved in the search for the boy when he first went missing in 2002.

Hernandez is now 18-years-old and as an adult he can decide whether or not he wants to be reunited with his mother.

It is not known if he was aware that he had been taken as a child.

The Vestavia Hills Police Department in Alabama said that the boy's father is being held on charges of tampering with records and will face charges for the abduction, but there are no other suspects at this time.

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