Grandparents believed responsible for boy's abduction 19 years ago in Minn.
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
TribLive commenting policy
- Boy Scouts of America votes to end controversial ban on openly gay leaders
- El Niño helps, harms economies
- Police try to see if man killed by escort was linked to crimes against women
- House backs bill to help vets who’ve suffered sexual assault
- House, Senate clash over highway funds before Friday deadline
- Outside attorneys to help investigate Bland death in Texas jail
- ‘Aggressive’ search under way for 2 Florida teens lost on fishing trip
- Lawyers: Immigrant mothers coerced to wear ankle monitors in Texas
- House Benghazi panel says State Department to hand over documents Tuesday
- Oklahoma court: Ten Commandments monument at Capitol must go
- Georgia judge says she did not involuntarily commit Louisiana movie theater gunman Houser