Boy Kidnapped at 5 Turns Up Married, 24

Grandparents allegedly snatched Richard Landers Jr. in 1994

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 11, 2013 1:55 AM CST | Updated Jan 11, 2013 3:00 AM CST

(Newser) – Nineteen years ago, the paternal grandparents of a 5-year-old boy allegedly kidnapped him. Now, Richard Landers Jr. has resurfaced, age 24 and married, in Minnesota, the Chicago Tribune reports. He lives under a different name, however—one provided by his grandparents when they took him and managed to stump police. The grandparents, who now use aliases, live just a few miles away. "It’s happened so fast, and we haven’t talked to him yet," says his stepfather. But "we’re going to as soon as we can."

Prior to the abduction, the grandparents "were allegedly upset over pending court proceedings regarding the placement of their grandson," police said. After they vanished in 1994, they were charged with interference with custody, but the charges were dropped when the case remained unsolved in 2008. Then, in September 2012, Landers' stepfather gave police Landers' Social Security card; the number led authorities to the 24-year-old, who seems "well-adjusted." Will he meet his mother again? "That’s going to be up to him," a police spokesman said. “We can’t force him and say, 'Now you’re going back with your mom.' He’s 24 years old." (Click for the story of a man who recently found his sister after a 60-year search.)

Richard Wayne Landers, Jr., who authorities say was abducted from Indiana by his paternal grandparents in 1994 during custody proceedings.
Richard Wayne Landers, Jr., who authorities say was abducted from Indiana by his paternal grandparents in 1994 during custody proceedings.   (AP Photo/Indiana State Police)
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