TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Grandparents believed responsible for boy's abduction 19 years ago in Minn.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, 8:04 p.m.
 

LONG PRAIRIE, Minn. — A 24-year-old man discovered living in Minnesota under an assumed name was abducted by his paternal grandparents nearly two decades ago when his unemployed mother was living in a car in Indiana, authorities said Friday.

The grandparents could be charged, a Minnesota sheriff said.

Richard Wayne Landers Jr., who was found on Thursday, is living in the small northern Minnesota town of Long Prairie under the name Michael Jeff Landers, the Todd County Sheriff's Office said.

Landers had lived with his grandparents since birth. In July 1994, Landers' mother and his grandparents argued over his custody, and the grandparents took him from their home in Wolcottville, about 50 miles southeast of South Bend, Ind., and fled.

“I'm not sure that (the grandparents) ever had legal custody,” said John R. Russell, who spent several months investigating Landers' disappearance in 1994 when he was a deputy.

The then-5-year-old boy's mother and stepfather were unemployed and lived in a car, Russell recalled. The grandparents “were nice people; it was wrong for them to do it, but I can understand why,” he said.

Landers' stepfather, Richard Harter, did not respond to phone calls Friday from an Associated Press reporter. A phone number for Landers' mother, Lisa Harter, could not be located.

No home listing could be found for Michael Landers. Messages left with his wife were not immediately returned.

Minnesota officials said the grandparents live under assumed names in Browerville, Minn.

Investigators reopened the case in September, when Richard Harter turned over the boy's Social Security card to an Indiana State Police detective.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Intruder made it to East Room of White House, overpowered Secret Service officer
  2. Cost of taking fight to ISIS pegged at $2.4B to $6.8B a year
  3. FAA reviews contingency plans, security policies after Chicago air traffic control center fire
  4. Indian premier stars at New York rally
  5. Police link 2 more cases to University of Virginia suspect
  6. NSA relies on 1981 executive order signed by Reagan
  7. Feds ask to close court hearing on Guantanamo Bay hunger striker
  8. Test cheating scheme in Atlanta goes to trial
  9. Some La. hospitals bill rape victims; legislators vow to end policy
  10. Qantas matches biggest plane, longest air route
  11. Supreme Court blocks start of early Ohio voting
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.