Lisa Harter was jumping for joy when investigators told her that her son had been found alive and well. Her son, Richard Wayne Landers Jr., was abducted 19 years ago in Indiana by his paternal grandparents who were upset over custody arrangements and disappeared with the boy in July 1994.
Landers, who was 5 years old when he disappeared, is now 24 and was found living in Long Prairie, Minnesota, a town close by to his grandparents who were living under aliases.
Landers’ mother is working with an attorney and hoped to reunite with her son, who is married and expecting his first child.
Police said the boy’s paternal grandparents, Richard E. and Ruth A. Landers, ran off with him because they were “upset over pending court proceedings” regarding his placement. It appears that the boy’s father was never in the picture. The grandparents were charged at the time with misdemeanor interference with custody, which then got bumped up to felony in 1999. Charges were dismissed in 2008 when investigators were unable to locate the nappers.
The case reopened after Harter’s husband, Richard, turned in the boy’s Social Security card to police and found a man in Minnesota with the same Social Security number and birthday.
“It’s happened so fast, and we haven’t talked to him yet,” said Richard Harter. “We are planning on it. We’re going to as soon as we can.”
Police decline to say whether the grandparents would face any charges.