Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 11, 2013

Abducted boy found after 19 years


GOSHEN, Ind. — A  5-year-old boy who was  abducted by his paternal grandparents in 1994 in northern Indiana has been found  “living, married and well,” in Long Prairie, Minn.

Richard Wayne Landers Jr. was abducted by Richard E. and Ruth A. Landers  on July 29, 1994, in Wolcottville, which is about 40 miles east of South Bend, Ind.

The elder Landers, at the time, where upset by pending court proceedings regarding the possible placement of their grandson. Arrest warrants were issued at the time for both grandparents; however, they were dropped in late 2008 when neither the child nor his grandparents were located.

In September of last year, the boy’s stepfather, Richard Harter, contacted Indiana State Police Detective Deven Hostetler and provided him with the young Landers' Social Security card. That was the break police needed.

Using his Social Security number, authorities tracked Landers down at his place of employment in Minnesota. There was a strong resemblance between the adult and a photograph taken of Landers when he was a boy.

Police said the grandparents, who were living in Browerville, Minn., under aliases, indicated their true identities and verified that the young man who was found was indeed Richard Wayne Landers Jr., now 24 years old.

“He was actually raised under an alias,” Sgt. Ron Galaviz said of the younger Landers.

Galaviz said an attorney is working with Landers’ mother, Lisa Harter, to reconnect her with her long lost son.


Details for this story were provided by The Goshen (Ind.) News and the Associated Press.