When he was only 5 years old, Julian Hernandez, pictures above, went missing. His mother suspected Julian’s father had abducted him, as he, too, had disappeared without a trace. As it turns out, Julian’s mother’s assumptions had been correct. Thirteen years after Julian’s disappearance, police finally found a lead on the missing child.
It all started when Julian, who had been living in Ohio with his father, applied for college.
In filling out the paperwork, Julian found out that his social security number did not match his name. Confused, he sought his counselor for help.
The school counselor ran a background check on Hernandez. That’s when Julian’s life drastically changed. The counselor discovered that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children had listed him as a missing child.
After a phone call to authorities in Alabama, police confirmed that the school counselor had found the missing Julian Hernandez.
Julian’s father, Bobby Hernandez, 53, appeared in court in Cuyahoga County Court in Ohio, where a grand jury has charged him on 32 counts. The judge sentenced him to four years in prison.
Ralph DeFranco, Bobby’s attorney, said “He’s been a perfect father….I just meant he couldn’t have done any more. The young man is a senior, he’s a straight-A student who played sports; he was planning to go to college.”
“It’s gratifying that this young man turned out as well as he did,” DeFranco said.
And Julian doesn’t seem to have any ill feelings towards his father. “Even if other people can’t, I forgive him for what he’s done,” the teen said. “I love him and I want him to be a part of my life.”
“The time I’ve spent with him is the only time I’ve ever truly felt at home and at peace,” Julian said.
Julian, attributing his success in school to his father, asked the judge to keep his father out of prison.
“Growing up without a mother was painful,” he said, “but taking him away from me is doing the same thing all over again,” Julian said.
Julian’s mother was overwhelmed with happiness to learn her missing child had been found.
She released a statement saying, “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.”
No mother or parent should ever have to go through this kind of pain. But Julian’s story and others like his can serve as inspiration for those who are still looking for their own lost children. Stay strong and never give up hope.
Watch the news coverage of Julian’s story here:
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