The ending of this story has an amazingly happy ending, but the beginning and middle are about as heartbreaking as they come. Can you imagine being separated from your child for 5 long years -- and then finally, FINALLY holding him in your arms again? That's exactly what Leilani Masumoto is going through right now. She lost her autistic son Keoni at just 2 years old when he was abducted by his own dad. Who, by the way, didn't even bother to keep his kid for long! Julio Rocha allegedly took his son to Mexico City only to dump him off with his parents ... for the next 5 years. Without bothering to mention the whole kidnapping part, apparently.
Because Keiko's grandparents didn't even know he was "missing" until someone recognized the little boy on a poster from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. At which point those grandparents made one of the most unselfish decisions ever.
Keiko's grandparents voluntarily returned him to his mother.
Said DA investigator Carole Snyder:
“It was the most heart-wrenching return I have ever seen. The grandmother and the aunt knew this would be the last time they saw Keoni. The boy’s mother, Leilani Masumoto, who had not seen her son in five years, bonded like they were meant to be as soon as they were reunited at the airport.”
Oh my god, can you stand it?! And if you're getting choked up now, just wait until you hear what Leilani Masumoto had to say:
“I haven't really celebrated Christmas or his birthday or anything. I was just waiting to get him back home. This will be our first Christmas together."
So, like I said, amazingly happy ending. But I still have a hard time wrapping my head around what a nightmare those 5 years must have been for this mom. Also, why, WHY did it take so long to find this boy? You'd think investigators would've tried contacting his paternal grandparents in a case like this, right? I'm not saying there isn't a perfectly good reason why they didn't or couldn't find him, I just wonder what it could possibly be.
At least he's back home where he belongs at last!
Can you imagine going through what this mom has been forced to endure?
Image via AOL