CLEVELAND (AP) – A man accused of taking his 5-year-old son from the Alabama home of the boy’s mother in 2002 and creating new identities for both of them was charged in Cleveland on Tuesday with kidnapping and forgery.
Bobby Hernandez, 53, was indicted on 32 counts that also include tampering with records and interference with custody, according to the Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s office.
He has been in jail since early November after the ruse fell apart.
Hernandez moved to Cleveland and built a new life for himself and his son and began calling himself Jonathan Mangina. His son, now 18, was known as Jay or J.J., a neighbor in Cleveland said.
But when the high school senior began the college application process, discrepancies were discovered with his Social Security number. That’s when a school counselor learned the teen was actually Julian Hernandez and that he was listed as missing by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
A message seeking comment on the new charges was left with Bobby Hernandez’s court-appointed attorney on Tuesday. Defense attorney Ralph DeFranco said earlier this month his client knew he’d be found someday.
Asked if Hernandez knew he’d be caught, DeFranco replied, “Absolutely. He knew it was coming. He just didn’t know when.”
Hernandez has been held on a $250,000 bond after being charged with tampering with records to obtain an Ohio driver’s license.
Alabama authorities also have charged him with interference with custody, which carries up to 10 years in prison if he’s convicted.
Julian Hernandez vanished from his mother’s home in the Birmingham area in 2002, his father leaving a note saying he had taken the child, authorities said. The teen’s parents weren’t married.
Police investigated hundreds of possible sightings over the years.
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