Missing Alabama boy found alive in Ohio 13 years later

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The original photo of Julian Hernandez is on the left. The one on the right is digitally enhanced.

The original photo of Julian Hernandez is on the left. The one on the right is digitally enhanced.

A child who was reported missing in Alabama 13 years ago has been found safe and unharmed in Cleveland, Ohio, authorities say.

Julian Hernandez was in the legal custody of his mother when he disappeared on August 28, 2002. He was 5 then.

It was suspected that his father, Bobby Hernandez, took him as part of a noncustodial parental abduction, according to the Vestavia Hills Police Department, just south of Birmingham.

Hernandez was supposed to be taking Julian to preschool that day, but he was never dropped off, according to WJW.

A lead in the case came Sunday, when Vestavia Hills police were contacted by the FBI in Cleveland about a missing child.

The case broke when Julian was trying to apply for college, Brandon Falls, the district attorney for Jefferson County, according to WVTM. He ran into problems when his Social Security number didn't match his name.

Bobby Hernandez. (Cuyahoga County Jail.)

Bobby Hernandez. (Cuyahoga County Jail.)

A school counselor worked with him to determine why. It was then they found out that he was on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children database.

The missing child they were able to locate and positively identify is now 18. Julian's mother and family were notified of his recovery.

Bobby Hernandez was arrested Monday in the abduction. The court records from Cuyahoga County in Ohio did not specify exact charges against him. CNN reached out to attorney Ralph DeFranco's office for further comment Wednesday night but did not immediately receive a response.

Bobby Hernandez made his first appearance in the Cuyahoga County Court on Wednesday, and his bond was set at $250,000. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for November 12.

In addition to the charges in Ohio, Hernandez will face charges in Jefferson County, Alabama, in the 2002 abduction. He may face additional charges.

The Vestavia Hills Police Department worked in collaboration with the FBI's Violent Crime Task Force in Cleveland, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Birmingham Division of the FBI.

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3 comments

  • Philip Natale

    Kid seems to be doing fine. I don’t know any of this story, but I do know the courts ‘get it wrong’ many times over. Who’s to say how he would have turned out if he were raised by his mother? Most children I know that were awarded to their mothers turned out like crap. This kid is going to college. The father probably saved this kids ‘life’ in the long run.

    • Danielle

      Then you hang around the wrong kinda mothers. Or people in general. They will never know how the kid would have turned out because the father kidnapped him and the mother has not seen him in 13years. Now if there was abuse that would have been different. But there is no report of abuse and the father then should have gone through the right chanels. It wasn’t like the mother was keeping the boy from the dad. He was supposed to take him to school for goodness sakes.

  • Fun facts

    Most mothers just aren’t as good as fathers at raising kids. This father obviously knew this and our government and courts suck at almost everything especially when it has to do with domestic issues