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Photo of Richard Wayne Landers a.k.a Michael Wayne Landers as a child

New man: Pictured outside his home in Browerville, Minnesota Michael Jeff Landers faced reporters as a 24-year-old married and expecting father

ALL GROWN UP: Richard Landers Jr (pictured) will soon be a father himself

01/13/13, HUFFINGTONPOST UPDATE — Richard Wayne Landers, Missing Boy Found As Adult, Says Grandparents ‘Were In The Right’

BROWERVILLE, Minn. — An Indiana mother whose former in-laws allegedly abducted her son nearly 20 years ago was not homeless at the time, the woman’s lawyer said, refuting claims that the grandparents needed to step in because she was unable to care for the boy.

Authorities searched for the then-5-year-old Richard Wayne Landers Jr. for years, but the case went cold. They eventually found him living with his paternal grandparents in the small central Minnesota town of Browerville. He had changed his name in 2006 to Michael Jeff Landers.

Lisa Harter and the boy’s father, Richard Wayne Landers Sr., did live in a car for three days at one point, but at the time of the boy’s disappearance in 1994, Harter had moved into an apartment, attorney Richard Muntz told The Associated Press late Friday.

Photo of Richard Wayne Landers Sr. father of kidnapped boy

Muntz said that when Harter and Landers Sr. divorced, Harter – who has mild developmental disabilities_ temporarily moved into a group home that wasn’t equipped for children. The grandparents obtained custody and filed for guardianship, he said. After Harter moved into an apartment and gained custody of her son on weekends, she filed a petition to expand her custody rights when she remarried.

“The judge gave her custody on a trial basis, and before she could get him, that’s when they left,” Muntz told the AP.

Todd County Sheriff Peter Mikkelson has said the investigation was ongoing and the case will be forwarded to federal authorities for possible charges, perhaps related to non-custodial kidnapping.

Michael Landers seems to have understood his circumstances and lived willingly with his grandparents.

Neither he nor his wife immediately responded to telephone or Facebook messages. But postings from each of their Facebook accounts appeared Friday night and Saturday on the Facebook page of KARE-TV in Minneapolis, suggesting that the grandparents did what was necessary.

A posting from Michael Landers said: “For you people who jump to conclusions you should find out the whole story I was where I needed to be. My `grandparents’ were in the the right I dont care what anyone else thinks.”

Click here for full updated article and video by the Huffingtonpost

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01/12/13, (DAILYMAIL) UPDATE – The happy family life of father-to-be abducted by his grandparents at age five and found almost 19 years later

  • Richard Landers Jr taken from Indiana home by his paternal grandparents in 1994 is pictured for the first time as an adult calling himself Michael
  • His wife is expecting a child and the couple live on the same plot of land as grandparents who are now facing charges
  • Mother and father say they want to renew contact but he and his wife say grandparents were ‘in the right’

Landers

Michael Landers (pictured below) and his wife Bobbie (pictured above) are now expecting their own child and have posted ultrasound images and messages about how excited they are on Facebook

A man abducted by his grandparents at the age of five lives next door to them with his new wife and is preparing to be a father himself.
The impression of a close and happy family life was emerging in the case of Richard Landers Jr, now 24, who was kidnapped by his grandparents as a young child.
Police found the grandparents and Landers almost 19 years after he went missing in an operation, praised by his parents, Lisa Harter and Richard Landers Sr, who had almost given up hope of seeing him again.
But both Landers and his new wife have praised rather than criticized his parents. In a Facebook post Bobbie Landers said his grandparents kept her husband ‘safe’ as a child.

Baby: Michael Landers and his wife Bobbie, pictured left, are now expecting their own child and have posted ultrasound images and messages about how excited they are on Facebook, pictured right
‘His “grandparents” didn’t follow the law, but they did what was right. Sometimes, our US laws don’t help or protect the people they should. He was 5. He remembers his birth parents and what they were like,’ it said.
‘He had been living under his grandparents care since he was a 6 month old baby. He was where he wanted and needed to be to be safe and become the man he is today, my husband and best friend.’
Rather than the appearance of someone held against his will, Landers, who changed his name to Michael himself at age 18, has defended the grandparents who kidnapped and raised him.
He is now preparing to be a father himself with his wife Bobbie, who has two sons from a previous relationship.
They all live on one plot of land in Long Prairie, just outside Browerville, Minnesota and the young couple have been happily posting on Facebook about the upcoming birth of their child.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL UPDATED ARTICLE BY DAILYMAIL.CO.UK

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01/11/13 – WOLCOTTVILLE, INDIANA — Five year old Kidnapped in 1994 Is Found ALIVE living in Minnesota

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Left: Lisa Harter the mother of Richard Wayne Landers (pictured right) was “overjoyed” when she heard that authorities located her missing son, Michael Wayne Landers Jr.

Richard Wayne Landers Jr. was just 5 years old when he and his paternal grandparents, who were upset over custody arrangements, disappeared from Wolcottville, a town about 30 miles north of Fort Wayne. Nineteen years later, news that he has been found living under an assumed name in Minnesota left his mother overjoyed and “jumping up and down,” her husband said Thursday shortly after police announced the break in the case.

Indiana State Police said the now 24-year-old Landers was found in Long Prairie, Minn., thanks in part to his Social Security number. His grandparents were living under aliases in a nearby town and confirmed his identity, investigators said.

Police declined to say whether the grandparents will face charges, citing the ongoing investigation.

Landers’ mother, Lisa Harter, was “jumping up and down for joy” when investigators told her a few days ago that her son had been found, her husband Richard Harter told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

He said his wife is “the happiest woman on earth.”

Harter said he and his wife were working with an attorney and hoped to reunite with his stepson soon. Police said Landers is married and expecting his first child.

Harter declined further comment and referred questions about the case to his attorney, who didn’t immediately return phone messages Thursday. Investigators declined to release the names under which Landers and his grandparents had been living.

Police said the boy’s paternal grandparents, Richard E. and Ruth A. Landers, abducted him in July 1994 because they were “upset over pending court proceedings” regarding his placement.

Police spokesman Sgt. Ron Galaviz said it appears the boy’s father was never in the picture. Lisa and Richard Harter had married a year earlier.

Authorities believe the grandparents took the boy from their home in Wolcottville and fled. They were charged at the time with misdemeanor interference with custody, which was bumped up to a felony in 1999. But the charge was dismissed in 2008 after the case went cold.

Investigators reopened the case in September when Richard Harter turned over the boy’s Social Security card to an Indiana State Police detective. That turned up a man with the same Social Security number and date of birth living in Long Prairie, Minn., about 100 miles northwest of Minneapolis. A driver’s license photo for the man appeared to resemble Landers, police said.

Indiana State Police then contacted Minnesota law enforcement agencies, which began investigating along with the FBI and the Social Security Administration.

The grandparents were found living in nearby Browerville, Minnesota
“By all accounts, it didn’t appear he suffered from any abuse, either physical or mental,” Galaviz said.

Written and published by: FOXNEWS