Abducted Toddler Found Safe —After 13 Years

Photo: Cuyahoga County Prosecutors Office/AP Photo
Problems with an Ohio teen's college applications led to a shocking revelation: He had been abducted 13 years earlier.

Julian Hernandez discovered his Social Security number and name did not match while he was filling out college applications. A school counselor helped him figure out why — by discovering that the teen was on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children database.

Julian's father, Bobby Hernandez, whose mugshot is pictured, was arrested on Monday and had his bail set at $250,000. And after almost a decade and a half of despair and dashed hopes, Julian's mother finally received notification that her son had been found and was safe. "She was excited; she was ecstatic," police said.

Julian went missing in Alabama at age 5. In late August 2002, his father arranged to take him to day care. But instead of dropping the child off, Bobby Hernandez apparently emptied his own bank account, packed his son’s stuffed animal, and disappeared. The parents were apparently separated, and the father did not have custody. Julian never knew he was being abducted.

Being taken by a noncustodial parent is by far the most common form of child abduction. Despite parents’ fears of “stranger danger,” if a child is kidnapped, it’s more likely to be by his or her own parent or guardian.

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