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A boy missing from Alabama for 13 years turned up in Cleveland this week. Julian Hernandez, 18, discovered himself on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children database when applying to colleges, USA Today reported.
This information soon led him to his mother. He had not seen her since his father disappeared with him 13 years ago.
The Parents Today
Over a decade ago, the boy's mother -- her name has not been released -- reported that the father was supposed to take him to preschool but disappeared. Authorities in Alabama suspected the father was responsible because he withdrew money from the bank and took some of the boy's things with him when he fled.
The mother's family released a statement expressing relief and joy at having found the teenager. However, the family asked for privacy for Julian's sake. They wrote, "We want to thank everyone for their prayers and support during Julian's disappearance."
As for the dad: he's in jail. Bobby Hernandez, 53, is charged with providing false information to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles in order to obtain a fake identification card.
He is being held on a $250,000 bond in Cuyahoga County. Hernandez also faces charges in Alabama for interference with custody, a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison.
Child Custody Crimes
A neighbor called Bobby Hernandez "a pretty cool guy" and said he had absolutely no idea that the man snatched his child. Bobby and Julian Hernandez have been in Cleveland since the abduction 13 years ago.
This case is a great reminder to all parents not to play games with their children's custody. However you may later come to feel about the other parent of your kid or kids, you must learn to communicate with that person about child care and visitation, whether you are both in one state or two different states.
If you cannot do that, at least ensure you have counsel who can speak on your behalf. Do not let disputes over children turn tragic and do not make rash decisions that could land you in prison.
You are not stuck somewhere just because you have a kid with someone. But -- as Bobby Hernandez is now finding out -- you could get locked up for disappearing with your child.