Friday, January 11, 2013

Kidnapped Boy Found 19 Years Later

Back in 1994, Richard Landers was 5 years old when his grandparents kidnapped him from Indiana. Detectives finally found the boy after 19 years living about 680 miles away from where he was kidnapped in Minnesota. He told police that he knew his real name but had chosen to live under the alias his grandparents had used and is married and is about to have a child of his own. The grandparents don't face any charges because prosecutors dropped the case years ago when the boy could not be found.

72 comments:

Dena said...

I love to read things about Mn but not things like this! Oh how I miss Mn!

Alma said...

That is scary as hell. While we don't know why they did this. Seeing that i am in a horrible custody battle, that anyone could just take your child from their parents and for so long and not even be punished. I know the nightmares i will be having about my lunatic ex mil tonight. :(

Sarah said...

Wow, how terrible for his mother to have his youth stolen from her. I'm sure the grandparents poisoned him against her since he knew his identity. Just awful.

mamabot said...

Hang in there Alma!

JSierra said...

Wow I wonder what was said to make him change his identity and prefer his new life over his old one.

Alma said...

Thank you!

LottaColada said...

According to DM, child welfare services stepped in after she ended up in a homeless shelter and because she had some developmental disabilities. The paternal grandparents had custody and took off when they found out the mom was going to have a week with the kid. The only good thing about this is that he seems to be doing good in life.

carolinec said...

hey you never know, his parents could have been alcoholics, abusers of any kind, manipulating fucked up people.. maybe the grandparents did him a favor.. he sure hasnt tried to get back in touch with his parents.. sooo.... who knows.

Silly Girl said...

@JSierra, I don't think he did it himself, I think the grandparents did it for him....
@Alma, hang in there! I'd like to think this happens less than we think (except it's always in the news when it does).

DBZee said...

Weird - the article says he knew his name but ends with "to have this dropped in lap after 24 years." So he sorta knew?

@Alma, best wishes for you. I remember something you said some time ago about your lunatic MIL stalking you. Hope it all works out for you.

Del Riser said...

@Alma, good luck to you!
I can't imagine the heartache to the mother no matter what her personal problems were, just having a child disappear would be terrible.
I hope that the grandparents provided him with a loving and stable environment.

Ashlea said...

This whole scenario seems very strange to me.

Ashlea said...

This whole scenario seems very strange to me.

Pogue Mahone said...

I feel sorry for him, not knowing his parents growing up and for his parents, not seeing him since he was 5, never knowing if he was even alive or dead.

Sarah said...

I don't know, he was 5, I wouldn't think he had any say in the matter. Perhaps he was actually better off in their care, but as a mother it feels like the wrong way to handle things.

msgirl said...

I had to read more about this because it just seemed too strange.

He lived with his grandparents since he was born. At the time of abduction the mother and stepfather were unemployed and living in a car. It sounds like they were trying to get custody so the grandparents split. From all accounts they were extremely nice people. So altho they did break the law, I have a little more compassion - they acted in the best interests of the kid.

mikey said...

I read that his parents never did have custody of him since his birth. Parents had an ugly divorce with "issues", mom remarried and wanted him back. Grandparents took off and left a lot of stuff behind.

ButterKwup said...

I've seen enough parents that are mistreating kids and are too proud to ask for or even accept help to not really have a problem with this I guess. He wasn't being locked in a freezer or tied to a bed. He had the option of reconnecting and chose not to. Birth mothers are not automatically the best parent to their kids.

MISCH said...

His poor parents..how cruel

timebob said...

If I had a choice when I was 5 to live with my parents or grandparents. I would of taken off with my grandparents in a heart beat.

rhinovodka said...

unfortunate that the grandparents broke the law instead of letting the courts decide. I don't have much sympathy for the grandparents, it was a completely selfish decision on their part.

Tina Mallette said...

While it wasn't right the fact his kid never really knew his mother as a parent, the fact that the son who is now 24 years old seems to have never wanted to find his mother and he could have as a teen, does not sound like he was mistreated, would suggest he was happy to remain with his grandparents. Perhaps their fear was this mother would end up with sole custody and in their heart and soul they felt that would not be the best thing.

Many times child protective services put the rights of the mother over the best interest of the child. It is better to let a court decide this but people also forget a lot of people don't have the money to fight legal battles like this even if an idiot could see this child was better off with his grandparents. Was he better off not having his mother in his life at all, hard to say.

crila16 said...

Huh? I'm confused. Why did the grandparents kidnap him from the parents in the first place and how could the parents never have found out? Obviously they had to have had some relationship with the grandparents, in order for the grandparents to want to kidnap the child and even have known the existence of the child. I mean seriously...this was THAT difficult to figure out? Did people and neighbors not question how the grandparents got a 5 year old child? Are the police really not that smart? Obviously the boy was let out of the house and had an education I'm assuming. He's married with a child of his own on the way, so he wasn't imprisoned in a basement.

Snapdragon said...

Crila16, I was just as confused. The original story on the Star-Tribune has a lot more detail: After 19 years, Indiana mother finds her son in Long Prairie

Alma said...

Thank you! You are right.

Snapdragon said...

From the Star-Tribune story: The police suspected the grandparents, even watched a cabin they knew about, but they never turned up, and there were no further hits on their SSNs. They just went underground with the kid. Charges were first escalated from misdemeanor to felony, but were later dropped. (Which is strange)

Snapdragon said...

(Underground, in a manner of speaking, that is.)

Alma said...

Thanks DB! I am handling it through the courts. Though honestly, i kick myself for not really noticing when we were dating. But then i wouldn't have my little boys.

Silly Girl said...

It's a sad story all around, and way too many details left out which won't allow us to really form an opinion. Even in the article the 5 yr old says he wanted to live with G & G. Of course he did, Mom lived at a shelter. G&G's probably had tv, and candy and a puppy. My point is, and anyone with a 5 yr old will know, they are limited in their grasp of what's 'right' and 'wrong' and the whole morality side of it. His grand parents loved him, why would he question going with them? Even if he knew his name was changed, they could have explained it away. My son barely remembers his kdg class from when he was 5 (he's 9 now), so I'm not sure how much this man would have remembered from that time. He may not even have known his name was changed. He may not have even known his grandparents changed their names, too. Too many unknowns for us to judge the situation. I'm just glad, for everyone's sake, that he was found/located. The mom needed to know what happened, and the grand parents need to be punished for breaking the law. This man may have trust issues (obviously) now, but hopefully he can work through them with the right help.
I wish all of them nothing but the best.

Alma said...

Thank you. I am glad this young man seems to be doing ok.

Sherry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sherry said...

Good luck Alma!

Sounds like they felt the child was there beause mom never had any(or very limited)interaction with him in 5 yrs and they were afraid the courts would rule for the parent (quite likely). Sad that the boy never got to meet his mom but then maybe not.

Could you imagine finding your child after 19 years? Especially if there wasn't evidence like this that the grandparents stole them. If they were just gone one day.

goes in circles said...

Maybe he didn't look for his mother because they told him she was dead or didn't want him.

Alma said...

Thanks Sherry! Your pic always makes me crave cake. Before i would read your comments with Karen's voice for some reason. Awesome.

This whole story is so strange. Seeing that the mother probably did not have much of a role in her son's life explains a lot. Sad.t

Sherry said...

Funny Alma...If you want the recipe for this awesome cake just lemme know. It's wonderful!

Hazeldazel said...

If the kid never lived with Mom and Dad, and the parents had multiple "issues" and then suddenly want custody, you would have to have nerves of steel to let it go through the courts. The fact is 99.9% of the time, the courts will just give the kid to the Mom, no matter how fucked up she is and no matter that a loving and stable home has been provided by the grandparents.

This isn't some pedo monster stealing a kid from a Normal Rockwell home. This is grandma and grandpa making sure the kid continues to have a happy life. And the kid probably figured that out, since he didn't bother to use his real name.

Silly Girl said...

@Hazel, you're jumping to some pretty big conclusions there. We don't know he CHOSE to use a different name. The grandparents could have lied to him, to 'protect' him. We don't know all the facts to this story.

anonymous said...

@timebob I did. biological parents are not always thebest parents. some people shouldn't have kids and thank gawd for grandparents that step in when that is the case

Alma said...

Cool. It looks wonderful! I'm at 101.alma@gmail.com when you have a spare moment. :)

Thanks Sherry!

ButterKwup said...

So are you @ Silly Girl, assuming that he wanted to live with his grandparents because they would spoil him and he didn't know better.

Silly Girl said...

I didn't assume that at all, @ButterKwup.....I assumed nothing. I'm the one saying we shouldn't jump to conclusions without knowing the whole story.

ButterKwup said...

'Of course he did, Mom lived at a shelter. G&G's probably had tv, and candy and a puppy. My point is, and anyone with a 5 yr old will know, they are limited in their grasp of what's 'right' and 'wrong' and the whole morality side of it'.

That sure sounds like assumption. I appreciate that you're trying not to judge, but it still sounds like you think it was unethical of the kid to not want to live in a shelter or a car.

Mango said...

Exactly as anonymous stated, biological parents are not always the best parents and just because they want their children doesn't mean they should be awarded custody of their children.

And I'm not saying this is the case, but sometimes the children are wanted because they will get additional state and federal aid, tax deductions or just because someone else wants them they suddenly seem to have value.

And I guess I shouldn't be surprised but unless I'm reading it wrong (major headache here) Enty wrote that the kid was kidnapped from Indiana and the next sentence reads that he was kidnapped from Minnesota.

goes in circles said...

Mango
He was found here in MN

old ;ady said...

I feel I have to comment. After, my Daughter's death in Aug. my son in law refused to let me see my Granddaughter. My Daughter, Son in law and Granddaughter had lived with me since before she was born and up until my Daughter's death. I had to tell him that all my money would go to her after I died but only if I got to see her. I had to change all my life insurence policies in front of him to get visitation. First it was every other weekend, then every weekend, then every other week until now I have her 22 days out of the month. Remember, I was with her since her birth. He even introduced me to his new gf, before my daughter died. In some states like mine Grandparents have no rights. So, I was lucky I had money.

Silly Girl said...

Sarcasm, @Butter, sarcasm....

Sherry said...

Your case was exactly what I was thinking of when I posted Old;ady. Glad you're getting to see your baby more sweetie!

seaward said...

Jesus, I can't believe how many people are sympathizing with the grandparents. This story is disgusting and I can't believe those asshole dickwipe kidnappers aren't going to get in any trouble.
I had to move to a new house to ensure my husband's parents would stop driving by our house at all hours of the night, occasionally coming to the door and running away before we answered, coming up and trying to peek into our son's room window. I had to get a restraining order taken out against my mom because she threatened so many times to kidnap my kid.
That's probably why I'm so ungodly PISSED about this whole story, because every day I live with the fear that one of them is going to do the same thing.

surfer said...

@ old ;ady - nice to see you here, and so glad you're getting to be with your granddaughter.

@ seaward - what an awful situation - hope you and your son remain safe.

Silly Girl said...

@seaward - prayers for you and your son...stay safe....

AuntJess said...

My heart breaks for you. That bastard deserves hell. Please please keep us up on what's going on. I'm happy you are taking primary care of the baby. ( I say baby cause when you are with them since before birth that's what they are until they're 30. And maybe older lol) my thoughts are with so many of our guys n gals that seem to be having hard times lately. Peace to everyone!

misspoppypants said...

@seaward, so both sets of grandparents want to kidnap your child? That's terrifying, a whole batch of crazy! Why would they feel entitled? And running up to his window to try to perk at him, annoying is not strong enough of a word. Ringing the doorbell and running? Grrrr!!! What does your husband think of this?!!!

All about Eve said...

@old ;ady, I always remember your situation which was heartbreaking, I'm glad you're spending time with you're granddaughter again :)

seaward said...

@misspoppypants They're both psychotic in their own ways, I guess. We hadn't spoken to my husband's family for years before we even got pregnant (such a long story, but it boils down to them being religious extremists). We still haven't spoken to them, so with them it's possible (probable) they just want to see the kid, but my husband is TOTALLY against it. You'd think they would at least attempt to call or email or whatever before showing up the way they have, but ugh, like I said, psychotic.
My mom is an alcoholic who basically snapped after my grandmother died. She went from silly, drunk dialing, inoffensive drunk to BATSHIT crazy drunk within a few months. I kind of just went along with it, humored her for a while, until my son's pediatrician told me to be careful because he kept getting weird bruises and rashes after being with her.

Anyway. That's everything in a nutshell.

Tuxedo Cat said...

It's difficult to know what was exactly going on with respect to the parents and grandparents.

The mother and stepfather were apparently living in a car. This shows a lack of ability to care for a child on every level.

My parents had some good friends whose daughter died under suspicious circumstances. Her husband had been physically abusive, and did not believe that she had committed suicide. They feared for their grandson, who was just a toddler, and that he might also be in the way. The next visit they had they took the child and fled down to the States. They eventually brought the child back because they realized they couldn't run forever, but they did what they felt they had to. By the time they got back the father moved in his girlfriend in. This was only 6 weeks after the wife's death. The grandparents were reprimanded but the judge was understanding. The father got the child back. I don't know what happened after that.

The grandparents in the case in question must have felt that the child would be given back to the mother, and that he would be in danger. It's too bad they felt that they couldn't trust the court system.

Most grandparents do so much for their grandchildren, and many raise them with little thanks and no legal rights.

Me said...

the father of this boy was NEVER in his life. the boy had been living with his grandparents since birth. if mom thought the grandparents were good enough to raise the boy for the first 5 years, what suddenly happened to change her mind? thw article i read said mom was liing in a car with a new husband when the grandparents left with the boy. whole lot of judgement coming: who in the world brings a new "daddy" into the picture, when your life is that kind of mess????? good on the grandparents for giving the child a stable life.

DBZee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tuxedo Cat said...

@old;ady

I just saw your post and I'm so sorry you're still having problems with your grand-daughter's father.

Some people get really co-operative when money is involved. I'm glad you were able to find a solution, even though it had to be a 'creative' one.

DBZee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Spring said...

Alma, here's hoping everything goes all right in your situation! I can't even imagine this happening!

bri swartley said...

I think we need much more of the story, as he has known his real name forever, and changed his own name legally, and said he was, "better off." Not crying for mom, yet.

April Walsh said...

I'm kind of on the grandparents' side so far, though maybe there's more to the story.

My father and mother split just after I was born. I was the third. She was just unfit, but she insisted she'd take me and my older sister and my father could have my brother, the oldest. After a bit, her mother contacted him and told him how badly we were neglected and how she was too old to keep stepping in. So he pretty much drove down with two of his brothers and they very easily stole us while she was out partying.

I suppose we were kidnapped. She just never involved the police, just told everyone about how awful he was for stealing "her babies."

I've barely met the woman, but I know my mother has moaned for decades that he kidnapped us and, in her eyes, he's the bad guy. But we were infants that were so sorely neglected that, according to the aunts and my grandmother who cared for us, we didn't cry for months. I know why. If a baby cries and nothing happens, I think they likely stop trying.

I don't talk to her. She's not all there. But she can call him a kidnapper all she wanted, but he took care of three kids on his own and gave us a better life than we'd have had with her. He wasn't perfect, but he loved us and did his best alone where most men would have let us fall into foster homes rather than step up (though we did spend time in foster care on and off while he was working and saving to get a house).

I guess my point is that these grandparents may have acted in his best interests and he might not be alive today of he'd stayed with his mother or father. And these deprived parents might be about as fit as my mother was.

PotPourri said...

I had a friend whose husband dumped her and she ended up living in her car with the two kids in the '70s. Paternal grandparents said "let them come live with us". Next thing you know she lost custody and was blocked from ever seeing her kids as the grandparents told the kids she hated them and dumped them. These are the same parents who raised their son to abandon his wife and kids and leave them to live in a car. You never know about grandparents and the evil that they have in their hearts, like these grandparents.

Jules_345 said...

@old ;ady, thank god for you and your persistence, imagine if you had complied and then he just ignored your granddaughter once he got a new gf. My husbands maternal grandparents gave his paternal grandparents money to go to court and have custody taken away from his mom (dad dies of od when he was 1). This was because mom was a lazy drug addict who usually only wanted him around when she applied for govt assistance but then sometimes she would be too lazy to drop him at the gpararents again so shed leave a 4 yo alone for the weekend with no food while she got wasted. Just because you are capable of having a child doesn't mean you are capable of being a parent.

Jules_345 said...

@seaward, I wrote the story about my husband before reading yours....I so sorry that you have to deal with that craziness. The difference is the neglect that took place before his grandparents stepped in, I would never condone taking kids from their parents for any other reason. And honestly, there isn't enough info from the original story to know what happened. Living in a shelter in itself isn't neglect. It's a highly emotional subject for those who have been even periphally involved.

babo said...

Reminds me of "Gone baby, gone" by Dennis Lehane (good movie by Affleck)

What to do when parents are unfit but don t want to step down although their kids would be much better off in somebody else s care? Tough call.

Agent**It said...

old;lady glad you are ok. Many of us were thinking of you over the holidays.

Tuxedo Cat said...

It seems that there are grandparents at every point on the spectrum from self-sacrificing (old;ady for example) to the extremely disturbed.
I guess it makes sense that abusive parents would become abusive grandparents.


PuggleWug said...

It's good that he had a decent life with his grandparents. Despite the circumstances, they kidnapped him and broke the law. His parents missed out on his entire life. It's a shame that the grandparents aren't being prosecuted. This story really disgusts me. I don't understand all the kudos being given to the grandparents.

Anna Namiss said...

I'm sure they had their reasons, and if he was being really mistreated at any time he could have gone to the police and said, this is who I am, arrest those fiends! So all's well that ends well. If the kid is normal, and doesn't have a problem with it then why should anyone else?

Lia said...

its so hard to judge on this. As a mom i cant imagine not seeing my child for 19 yrs, but at the same time there are some circumstances where i can understand the grandparents reaction.

my fianc├ęs "uncle" is actually his cousin. both of his parents has substance abuse issues and when he was about 2, my FMIL came over to their house and found her nephew alone while his mom was passed out somewhere. she took him right away and then called the police and informed them of the situation and that she took him for his own safety. His grandparents ended up adopting him legally and has been treated as their "brother" ever since. now everything with them was legal and the whole family knows the truth ( it was a lot for me to wrap my head around when i first met them though). he had a great life with his "father" and still barely has a relationship with his real father (now "brother") by choice.

old ;ady said...

I also have a 1/2 sister of my Daughter and she wants for nothing. Today we painted, colored and I gave her a bath then painted her nails prink. She loves Chinese food so we got some Friday. Being a small town, they gave her lots of cookies even the place across the street gives her a bag of cookies. The cashiers at the grocery store gave her Christmas presents. The town things she should be with me as ss she is always with me and we do everything together. I have to pay him every month, but at least I know she is safe.