In August, 2002, a little boy vanished from his home in Alabama. Five-year-old Julian Hernandez was reported missing by his mother after his father left a note saying he’d taken the little boy.
12 years passed, and Julian continued living — reportedly happy, healthy, and normal with his biological father in Ohio, who changed his name and assumed a false identity.
Hundreds of tips flooded in over the years, and Julian’s mother never gave up hope she would one day be reunited with her son. However, all of the leads proved false.
That was, until Julian was 18 years old and began filling out his college applications. Julian noticed his social security number didn’t match his name, and that’s when the shocking truth began to unravel.
Confused by the supposed mix-up in his personal information, Julian enlisted a school counselor to help him complete his applications.
The counselor discovered Julian was listed as a missing person by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He learned he was abducted as a child — by his own father.
Authorities said Julian’s mother was beyond overjoyed to hear her boy was alive and well.
In a touching twist, he asked the judge to keep his father out of prison, and said he forgave him. He said growing up without a mother was painful, “but taking him away from me is doing the same thing all over again.”