We all know, either through personal experience, the news or other sources, that custody cases can be difficult and messy. Everyone thinks they know who’s best qualified to take care of the children, and sometimes neither parent is thought of as fit caregivers. Sometimes it is true that certain parent’s aren’t even remotely qualified to take care of their kids. But, family is important. I believe this. It is a support network, especially when you have close extended family. During a custody case, family support can be important and necessary. However, what happens when family gets too involved, in this particular case, the grandparents?
Just recently, Indiana was able to solve a missing child case, which is absolutely great news for the parents. The mother is supposedly the “happiest woman on earth” according to her husband.
A now 24 year old Richard Wayne Landers Jr. was abducted when he was 5 (in 1994), by his grandparents mind you. He was found living in Long Prairie, Minnesota although not with his grandparents. He is reportedly now married and on his way to starting his own family; a lot for his parents to miss out on. The grandparents must have really thought they were doing what was best for the boy; to take him away, never contacting either parent, especially their son, to tell them where the boy was. Maybe they were doing what was best for him, who knows.
His mother was apparently living in her car for a few days around the time of the custody hearing, but says she had been granted custody on weekends. Despite what one thinks is truly the best for the child, abduction is generally not the usual, nor the best, course of action. The grandparents have been living under aliases. I assume all this time. They were truly dedicated.
At the time the boy was abducted, the grandparents were charged with “ misdemeanor interference with custody” and later, in 1999 with a felony. I’m assuming because they were suspected but no evidence for the crime or the boy were found. In 2008, all charges were dropped as no further information was coming forward on the case. I’m not sure how all this worked out with them living under aliases.
It seems the reason that the investigation and finally the discovery of the boy started up again was that the boy’s father gave the sons social security card to investigators and things progressed from there. Luckily none of that information for the abducted child was ever changed. A social security number is a powerful tracking tool as it is a major identifier. This is especially true of background checks, and why employment screenings done with a social security number are correct a vast majority of the time. In other words the horror stories about incorrect background checks are actually quite rare if an actual SSN was used for verification.
I’m wondering if the grandparents were in contact at all, during this time period of almost 20 years, with the boy’s parents. That’s quite a lie to be keeping. I can only imagine the grief the mother would have gone through. There was obviously no love lost between them and the mother and the father was apparently “never in the picture.” I hope he didn’t know all this time.