When he was just five years old, Julian Hernandez disappeared. His mother had reported him missing in August 2002 from Alabama, where it was suspected that his father, Bobby Hernandez, who disappeared at the same time, took him as part of a non-custodial parental abduction.
Investigators tried in vain to find the child, spending tireless hours doing everything they could to look for him. After several years, Julian’s disappearance was moved to the cold case files, but 13 years later surprising information came to the surface. Officers received a call proving that Julian Hernandez, now a teenager, had been found safe and sound in Cleveland, Ohio.
Julian Hernandez, now 18, was trying to apply for college when he found that his Social Security number did not match his name. With the help of a school counselor, the teen was shocked to discover he was in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children database.
Members of the FBI’s Violent Crime Task Force in Cleveland, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Vestavia Hills Police Department and the Birmingham Division of the FBI worked on the case and on November 2, it was confirmed that Julian Hernandez had been found, a spokeswoman from the FBI said.
His father, Bobby, was arrested and being charged with tampering with records and interfering with custody. Charges that if proved will land him in jail for 10 years.
After more than a decade of waiting and believing, the family released a statement Thursday, saying: “Our family was overjoyed this week to locate Julian and learn that he is safe. We want to thank everyone for their prayers and support during Julian’s disappearance.”
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