Missing LaGrange Boy Found Alive 19 Years Later

By Eric Dutkiewicz

January 10, 2013 Updated Oct 28, 2013 at 1:29 PM EDT

LONG PRAIRIE, Minn. (www.incnow.tv) - A boy who went missing from Northeast Indiana nearly 20 years ago has been found alive in Minnesota.

Richard Wayne Landers, Jr., of LaGrange County, was 5 years old when he was abducted by his grandparents on July 29, 1994.

He was located in September after his stepfather, Richard Harter, contacted Indiana State Police after finding Richard Jr.'s social security number.

Police detectives matched that number and date of birth to a man living in Long Prairie, Minn.

Multiple police agencies in Minnesota and Indiana followed up on the lead, eventually finding the grandparents used different aliases for the two decades that followed the abduction to help cover their tracks

The 19-year-investigation ultimately led authorities to find Richard Wayne Landers, Jr., now 24.

"This bomb shell was just dropped on this young man within the last couple of days," Indiana State Police Sgt. Ron Galaviz says. "It's probably going to take a little time to digest."

"It's nice to put closure to this case," LaGrange County Sheriff Terry Martin said in a statement. "Now the family can begin the process of re-connecting with their loved one."

Richard Landers, Jr.'s grandparents, Richard and Ruth Landers, were once the focal point of the LaGrange County investigation. The couple was charged with misdemeanor interference with custody in; those charges were eventually upgraded to felonies in 1999. The LaGrange County prosecutor's office dropped charges in 2008, when neither the boy nor the grandparents had been found.

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