A 5 year old Indiana boy who vanished in 1994 is now 24 and living in the central Minnesota town of Browerville, the Todd County Sheriff's Office said Friday. Sheriff Peter Mikkelson said the investigation is ongoing and the case will be forwarded to federal authorities.
The Associated Press reports the boy, Richard Wayne Landers, Jr., legally changed his name in 2006 to Michael Jeff Landers, a couple of weeks after he turned 18. Authorities say he was abducted by his paternal grandparents following a custody dispute. The grandparents, who have been living under the assumed names Raymond Michael Iddings and Susan Kay Iddings, verified Landers' identity. Raymond Iddings has worked since 1999 as a herdsman at Twin Eagle Dairy in Clarissa.
Today, Michael Landers works at an auto parts store in Long Prairie. He and his wife, who are expecting a child, share a plot of land with his grandparents a few miles outside of Browerville. Telephone and social networking messages left with him and his wife were not immediately returned.
The Star Tribune reports that Landers' mother, Lisa Harter, hopes they will eventually meet. Harter and her son's father were in the midst of a divorce at the time, and Harter ended up in a homeless shelter. Child welfare services stepped in because Harter has some developmental disabilities and the grandparents got temporary custody before they vanished with the boy.