LaGrange Co. boy missing since 1994 found in Minnesota

Richard Wayne Landers, Jr. Photo courtesy: Indiana State Police

LAGRANGE COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – UPDATE: Police have confirmed the names the missing boy, formally known as Richard Wayne Landers, Jr., and his grandparents were living under . Police say Landers, Jr. was kidnapped by his paternal grandparents, who


A LaGrange County boy who had been reported missing since he was five years old, was found over 18 years later, alive and well, living in Long Prairie, Minnesota.

According to police, Richard Wayne Landers, Jr. was abducted by his paternal grandparents after they were upset about the pending court proceedings regarding the placement of their grandson.

Police said the grandparents, Richard and Ruth Landers, took Landers, Jr. to an unknown destination on July 29, 1994.

According to LaGrange County Sheriff Department Deputy John Russell, who is now retired, arrest warrants were issued for both grandparents, charging them with Interference with Custody, a class B misdemeanor. Russell said he knew the family personally and believed the grandparents would not harm Landers.

“I just knew that they were not the kind of people that were going to see that he got hurt at all, but it was wrong,” said Russell.

In 1999, those charges were elevated to Interference with Custody, a class C felony. In September 2008, after the child and his grandparents had still not been found, the LaGrange County Prosecutor’s Office dropped the charges.

According to police, in September 2012, Landers, Jr.’s stepfather, Richard Harter, gave them Landers, Jr.’s Social Security card.

“A young man living in the state of Minnesota was actually using the social security number, but what was really interesting was that, doing further checking on who this person was, he had the same exact date of birth as the boy who was listed as missing back in 1994,” said Sgt. Ron Galaviz, with Indiana State Police.

Police found a man living in Long Prairie, Minnesota. The man even appeared to look similar as to how the missing boy might look in his twenties.

In October 2012, Landers, Jr.’s grandparents, who are currently living in Browerville, Minnesota under different names, verified that the young man who was using Landers Jr.’s Social Security number, was actually Landers, Jr.

Police said Richard Wayne Landers, Jr., is now 24-years-old and is married.

“It’s just too bad that those many years have gone by, but I’m really happy that he was found and everything’s ok,” said Russell

The LaGrange County Sheriff’s Department said there will be no charges filed against Lander, Jr.’s grandparents because the statute of limitations has expired in LaGrange County.

NewsChannel 15 called FBI in Minneapolis to see if they will file in charges in this case, but our calls were not returned.

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