Boy Abducted At 5 Reemerges At 24, Married & Soon To Be A Father

by
Owen Poindexter
Richard Wayne Landers Jr. was five years old when his grandparents abducted him. Now, at 24, married and expecting a child, his mother will get to see him again.


This is what Richard Wayne Landers Jr. looked like the last time his mother saw him. Now he is 24, married and expecting a child.

And you thought you had problems with your in-laws. Nineteen years after his paternal grandparents abducted him, a man, now 24, has reemerged. Richard Wayne Landers Jr., who had been living as “Michael James Landers” was 5 years old when his grandparents, upset over custody arrangements. Apparently they were upset enough to take matters into their own hands: they abducted Richard, changed his and their names, and moved him from Indiana to Minnesota where they raised him.

Landers’ mother, Lisa Harter, had no idea of her son’s whereabouts until she got the call, which sent her “jumping up and down for joy,” according to her husband, Richard Harter.

“My wife is the happiest woman in the world right now,” said Harter, who is not the father of Lisa Harter’s son.

An investigation into the abduction was closed in 2008, but charges may still be filed against the grandparents. From all accounts, they did not abuse the child, mentally or physically, but, well, they did separate him from his mother for his entire upbringing.

Landers Jr.’s father was never in the picture, but he lived with his grandparents since birth. When they got into a custody dispute the grandparents fled.

If Lisa Harter can reunite with her son soon, she can be one of the first to meet her grandchild. Landers Jr. is married and expecting a child. So, you could say he's grown up some since the last time his mother saw him.

My only question: both the grandparents and abducted child kept their same last name and social security number. How did it take so long to find them?

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