In the summer, most eighteen-year-olds are working on their college applications. One man in Ohio started to work on his, but he kept getting stopped because his Social Security number did not match his name. He found out it wasn’t a mix-up. He was abducted as a child in Alabama, and his name was Julian.
In 2002, Julian Hernandez was five years old and living with his mother in Birmingham, Alabama. According to missing persons database Charley Project, one day in August, his father, Bobby, was scheduled to take him to preschool. Bobby and Julian disappeared that day, and Julian’s mother did not see her son for over a decade.
Alabama police contacted her saying they found her son in Ohio. She did not believe it at first. It has been 13 years filled with false hope, so she was hesitant to believe them.
On that August day in 2002, Bobby Hernandez took all the money out of his bank accounts, packed his son’s baby blanket and stuffed toy, and left Alabama. There was an ongoing custody dispute with Julian’s mother at the time.
Julian was raised far from his original home under an assumed name. Police knew that Bobby had taken Julian, but they never found him or the boy.
When it was time to apply for college, Julian found that his Social Security number could not be verified. So his school counselor did some detective work and found that Julian Hernandez was listed in the database of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The FBI was alerted. The Jefferson County District Attorney said that the teenager’s college application problem was what they needed to put the pieces of the puzzle together. They approached Julian and Bobby, and Bobby was arrested. He was charged with tampering records but not with child abduction.
Lt. Johnny Evans (pictured above) of the Vestavia Hills police spoke out about the case of Julian.
Bobby stands to face prison time of up to ten years if he is convicted.
Julian has been in touch with his mother, and the family released the follow statement:
Our family was overjoyed this week to locate Julian and learn that he is safe . . . We want to thank everyone for their prayers and support during Julian’s disappearance.”
A tattered American flag flies in front of the home where Julian lived with his father in Ohio.
This is the boy’s father, Bobby Hernandez.