Autistic Boy Reunited With Mom After 5 Nightmarish Years (VIDEO)

autistic boy reunionThe 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

autism, in the news


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Const... Constant_Reader

Wow! Great Job to the grandparents!  It's nice to hear a good story like this! Not enough of them out there.

jalaz77 jalaz77

Great ending but wouldn't a person (grandparent) wonder why hasn't his mother called or written? Just glad she got him back.

Mommi... MommietoJB

I dont see why its neccessary to bring up hes autistic, especially in the title. No matter what this is a heart wrenching story.

Vegeta Vegeta

Is his name keiko or keoni? Yeah I don't see how being autistic has anything to do with it. Great job grandparents for keeping him safe.

Venae Venae

Why would it be the last time the grandmother and aunt see him?  Surely mom will let them see him again - they weren't the kidnappers.

Misty... Misty.Dawn

venae-i was just about to say the same thing. That would be pretty sh*tty of the mother not to let them see him :/ the dad probably told them something like the mother ran off or died or something so they didnt have any reason to think something was up when she didnt call or write. Glad he was reunited with mom!

nonmember avatar jack sprat

Probably no mystery why the kid stayed "missing" for so long. The dad was likely undocumented. In that case, Mexico is one big haystack.

Andrea Yancey

Contacting anyone in Mexico can be a huge problem, especially in a city like Mexico City. It is very difficult to track people down because Mexico doesn't have records like they do here in the US.

But i am so glad that he is home!

the4m... the4mutts

That's incredibly unselfish of the fathers family. Good for them! I am sorry he was missing for so long, but this is a good ending. I hope everyone in this story *except the father of course* gets their happily ever after, especially the "heros" in the fathers family.

SuzyB... SuzyBarno

Jalazz77- I don't think the mother knew her son was with the grandparents so why would she call or write? Once her and her husband got a divorce maybe she cut off contact with them. Not the mothers fault. It's the fathers fault.

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