Richard Wayne Landers, a boy who was abducted in 1994 by his paternal grandparents, has reportedly been located living, married and well in Long Prairie, Minn.
According to Indiana State Police Detective Jeff Boyd, as cited by Fox 59 in Indiana, Wayne Landers, Jr. was abducted by his grandparents, Richard E. and Ruth A. Landers, because the elders were allegedly upset over pending court proceedings regarding the placement of their grandson.
The grandparents allegedly took the then 5-year-old boy and left from their home in the Wolcottville area and went to an unknown destination.
In the events the followed, LaGrange County Sheriff Department Deputy John Russell, who is now retired, placed Landers, Jr.’s name and information into several missing children clearinghouses.
In addition, arrest warrants were issued for both grandparents, charging them Interference with Custody, a Class B Misdemeanor.
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Five years later in 1999, Russell elevated the charges to Interference with Custody, a Class C Felony.
In September 2008, with neither the child nor his grandparents found, the LaGrange County Prosecutor’s Office filed a letter with the Court and the charges were dropped.
In September 2012, after the case had gone cold for several years, Richard Harter contacted Indiana State Police Detective Deven Hostetler and provided him with the younger Richard’s Social Security card.
With authorities now having a solid lead to work with, they eventually tracked down a man in Long Prairie, Minn., who was using the same Social Security number and date of birth as the missing boy from LaGrange County. According to reports, the man’s driver’s license photograph even appeared to bear a potentially similar resemblance to how the missing boy might look today.
The Long Prairie Police Department, along with the Todd County Sheriff Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Social Security Administration, conducted follow-up investigations in the case of the missing boy and discovered that the grandparents were living in Browerville, Minn. under different aliases.
Fox 59 reports that the grandparents made statements indicating their true identities and verified that the young man who was found was indeed Richard Wayne Landers, Jr., who is now 24 years old.
“It’s nice to put closure to this cas, and now the family can begin the process of re-connecting with their loved one,” LaGrange County Sheriff Terry Martin told reporters. Boyd added that “this is an example of inter-agency cooperation, both here in Indiana and in Minnesota, that allowed this almost 19-year case to come to a successful conclusion”.