Missing Alabama Boy Found 13 Years Later in Ohio

The FBI found Julian Hernandez in Cleveland, OH, 13 years after he went missing in Vestavia Hills, AL when he was only 5-years-old.

“I’ve been doing this 25 years and its something I’ve never experienced before,” stated Lt. Johnny Evans.

Authorities arrested his father Bobby Hernandez, who was the original suspect in the case. They lived in Cleveland without using their real names. The “big break” came when Julian filled out college applications. From ABC7:

When the now 18-year-old began applying to schools, he was told his social security number didn’t match his name. School officials helped him investigate and discovered the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children database. That database included an age progressed picture of Julian.

“He’s (Bobby) been here three to five years,” explained neighbor Matt MeInyk. “I had absolutely no idea this was happening. His son was very quiet, and from what I know, he was a good student.”

Julian is now 18.

Jefferson County District Attorney Brandon Falls told the media that Hernandez “could face two charges in Alabama, including interference with custody and identity theft.” The court in Ohio charged him with identity theft.

Vestavia Hills Police Department released this statement:

On November 1, 2015 the Vestavia Hills Police Department was contacted by FBI Agents from Cleveland, Ohio in regard to a missing child from Vestavia Hills. The child, Julian Hernandez, was reported missing by his mother in August of 2002. At the time of the abduction, it was suspected he was taken as non-custodial parental abduction. Members of the FBI’s Violent Crime Task Force in Cleveland, with help from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Vestavia Hills Police Department, and the Birmingham Division of the FBI were able to locate and positively identify the child as Julian Hernandez.

The child’s father, Bobby Hernandez, was arrested and subsequently charged Cuyahoga County Court in connection with the abduction. Hernandez also will face charges in Jefferson County for the abduction from 2002. The child’s mother and family were notified of the child’s recovery and that he was found safe and unharmed. The investigation is ongoing and Hernandez may face further charges at a later date.

VHPD would like to extend their appreciation to all of the agencies involved in this investigation.

Follow Mary Chastain on Twitter @mchastain81