LAGRANGE COUNTY — A boy from LaGrange County who was abducted 18 years ago by his paternal grandparents has been found living in Minnesota.
Richard Wayne Landers Jr. was abducted by his grandparents, Richard E. and Ruth A. Landers, on July 29, 1994. He was recently found “living, married and well” in Long Prairie, Minn., according to the Indiana State Police.
The elder Landerses were allegedly upset over pending court proceedings regarding the placement of their grandson, said police. The Landerses allegedly took the then-5-year-old boy and left from their home in the Wolcottville area.
In September 2012, Richard Landers’ stepfather, Richard Harter, contacted the Indiana State Police to provide them with Landers’ social security card. After conducting an investigation, a man in Long Prairie, Minn., was found using the same social security number and date of birth as Landers.
It was determined Richard Landers’ grandparents are currently living in Browerville, Minn., under aliases, following investigations from the Long Prairie Police Department, Todd County Sheriff’s Department, FBI and Social Security Administration. The Landerses confirmed that the man living in Long Prairie is indeed Richard Landers, now 24 years old.
Initially, the LaGrange County Sheriff’s Department started an investigation, placing Richard Landers’ pertinent information into several missing child clearinghouses, because they considered him a missing and endangered child.
Arrest warrants were also issues for both grandparents, charging them with interference with custody, a Class B Misdemeanor. In 1999 the charges were elevated to a Class C Felony. In September 2008, with neither the child nor the grandparents being located, the charges were dropped.
“It’s nice to put closure to this case and now the family can begin the process of reconnecting with their loved one,” said LaGrange County Sheriff Terry Martin.