Missing Boy Found Alive & Well 19 Years After His Abduction Along With His Grandparents

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kidnapped boy foundFor the mother of Richard Wayne Landers, Jr., the last 19 years have been difficult, stressful, and painful. She has spent all that time wondering where her son is, who disappeared from Indiana in 1994 along with his paternal grandparents after a custody ruling.

The boy was found, unharmed and seemingly healthy, living under a different name in Minnesota. Now 24, the man was found using his Social Security number, which remained unchanged. According to Fox News, his overjoyed mother was "jumping up and down" with glee when she heard the news that there was finally a break in the case.

The case is bizarre and mysterious. Unlike so many abduction stories, this one has a happy ending -- thank goodness -- but it also leaves so many questions: Why did the grandparents feel compelled to do this?

At first glance, they seem evil and sick and wrong. Certainly taking a child from his mother at the age of 5 and never letting her see him in all those years is horrendous. It's a crime. They should be charged. 

But having seen so many friends be completely screwed by the family court system in the US, I have to wonder if there is more to the story. Is it possible that these grandparents were being squeezed out somehow or felt that their grandson was in more danger if they did NOT take him than if they did?

It's an impossible situation sometimes and, without the facts, we can't say what went down. Were these grandparents protecting the child? Or did they feel they were? And if they did: Does that make their crime less egregious?

There are plenty of times people commit crimes for reasons they think are truly justified. Should the reason they commit them be taken into consideration even though the end result is the same: a mother waits 19 years to find out what happened to her son and missed nearly two decades of raising him?

It's hard to say and I don't know enough about this case in particular to comment. But I do know that if a person commits a crime -- like stealing food to feed his hungry family -- it's different than a person who robs a bank to buy a diamond ring.

Should that be taken into consideration in a court of law? I am not sure. But it sounds to me like these grandparents loved their grandson and didn't physically harm him. So then what?

Whatever the case the mother can now get to know her son. My heart goes out to her. I can't even imagine the agony she has been through.

Do you think the reason for committing a crime matters?


Image via MegaBu7/Flickr



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MaryC... MaryCimino

I would not put this past my mother whom I'm fighting now over custody of my oldest. I won't let her go visit her now for this alone and the judge is threatening me with contempt of court. (My mother has visitation rights) My mother thinks because I'm back in beauty school, work with delinquent teens, and have a Rottweiler AND a Pitbull that I must be abusing my child. She's bipolar who won't stay on her meds so who knows where that logic came from. 

Irela... Ireland69

No one knows the story, the mother would've been a druggie or had an abusive partner maybe the mother was too busy having a good time.  Who know I say it depends on the situation. Now if the grandparents didn't like the mother for whatever reason like maybe the way the mom discipline the child etc. that is none of their business it's her child as long as she isn't harming him they should be punished.  A lot times the law doesn't know and they always assume and make the wrong decisions for example in divorces on custody of the child.  Not all moms are great moms dads can be better than moms at time but the court automatically gives the mom the rights. 

britn... britneykaren

Mary, wth?? How does a grandparent get to take part in a custody battle? Crazy! Never heard that before


There was another case like this a few years ago and the grands were just you know; we wanted the kids. They also turned the kids against their mom. I just have a feeling these grands were being evil. How do you keep the kid away forever and never let the mom know at least the child is safe?

LoveM... LoveMyViolet

The local paper (StarTribune)  had a little more info on this case. http://www.startribune.com/local/186372571.html

The mother and her son's father were in the midst of a divorce at the time. The couple had a troubled relationship and the mother ended up in a homeless shelter. Child welfare services stepped in because the mother has some developmental disabilities. In her own home, remarried and working a job, the mother sought to regain custody. The judge ordered the child returned to the mother for a trial period. The grandparents then took the child.

So, yes there were odd circumstances, but it in no way excuses what the grandparents did. That poor mom missed out on here child's entire childhood.

NatAndCo NatAndCo

Britney.... Some places have something called "grand parents rights". It happened with my ex and his son. Its used when the child has spent a significant amount of time with the child, enough that the judge feels it would harm the child to keep them away.

Like if a grand parent had temporary custody of a child for an extended amount of time before it transferred back to the mother/father.

jalaz77 jalaz77

No there is no excuse for them to take off with him for 19yrs. I understand for a day cause they were scared but wow. This is so sad. Those grandparents should be taught a lesson. There is always more to the story but the really don't have rights. They should of compromised with her.

Mom2f... Mom2fourlove

My in laws are trying to take my kids. No way in hell will they ever see my kids. There abusive psychos.

nonmember avatar Melissa

The mother of my granddaughter was quite possibly going to jail for some shop lifting charges that she committed with my son. She signed over custody of her daughter to me. I've been raising her for 6 months while she's been out having the time of her life. My son took all the blame for the shop lifting so she was never charged. She never sees her on the weekends, has not attended ONE dance class and only takes her when she needs to show what a great mom she is to her family, who I don't think knows what's going on. I can see why these grandparents took the kid. Maybe not for 19 years, but I can see why.

nonmember avatar Edna Duvall

This is nuts!! They are kidnappers, pure and simple. NINETEEN years have been stolen from the mother, NINETEEN years of brainwashing the child, turning him against his mom...does not matter what their reason for doing this, does not matter how elderly they are, these people should pay for their crime, just like any other person who abducts a child.

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