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Alabama Boy Missing for 13 Years Found Safe in Cleveland

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

The Short of It

A boy who was missing for 13 long years has been found safe in Cleveland.

The Lowdown

Julian Hernandez was just 5 years old when he went missing in Alabama. His father told Julian's mother he would take the child to preschool and never returned. Police determined Bobby Hernandez withdrew money from his bank and fled. They were unable to find any trace of Julian...until now.

"I've been doing this 25 years, and it's something I've never experienced before," Lt. Johnny Evans, a police officer in Birmingham told WVTM. He said investigators had done everything they could to find Julian.

It was actually Julian who discovered his own status as a missing child when he attempted to apply to college with a social security number that could not be verified. After finding himself on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children database with the help of a teacher, the FBI was contacted, and the boy's father was arrested.

USA Today

The Upshot

All that time, Julian, now 18, had been living with his father under a different name. They'd been in the Cleveland area for at least three years, but their whereabouts beforehand are not known at this time. Neighbors say the boy was quiet and a good student, and they had no idea he was a missing child.

Julian has returned to his mother, where hopefully he can rebuild his life.

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