Grandparents' love of grandchild behind "abduction"

After 19 years, Indiana mother finds her son in Long Prairie

Harter and her son's father were in the midst of a divorce at the time, said Indiana attorney Richard Muntz, who has worked with the mother in her 19-year search.

The couple had a troubled relationship and Harter ended up in a homeless shelter, Muntz said. Child welfare services stepped in because Harter has some developmental disabilities. "The father wasn't in the picture, and the grandparents got temporary custody," Muntz said.

In her own home, remarried and working a job, Harter sought to regain custody. "We had a number of hearings, and during the last one the judge said, 'I don't know if the mother can handle the situation, but we have to give it a try,'" Muntz said.

"The judge ordered the child returned to the mother for a trial period. The grandparents went to the bank, drew $5,000 out of a home equity line and stopped for breakfast at a local restaurant."

That was the last time they were seen in rural Wolcottville, which is about 35 miles northwest of Fort Wayne. A warrant was issued for the grandparents' arrest on a misdemeanor charge of interfering with custody.

Five years later, with authorities convinced that the boy had been taken across state lines, the crime became a felony, Muntz said. In 2008, the LaGrange County prosecutor dropped the charges after neither the boy nor the grandparents had been found.
Comment: Mirror article with still pic of the boy. Local news stated that the mother was living in her car 19 years ago. I predict that no charges will be brought against the grandparents.


  1. Lawyer: Mom of abducted Ind. boy who turned up in Minn. wasn't homeless when in-laws took him

    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.

    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."

    One of several posts from his wife, Bobbie Landers, said, "His `grandparents' didn't follow the law, but they did what was right. .... He was 5. He remembers his birth parents and what they were like. ... He was where he WANTED and NEEDED to be to be safe and become the man he is today. My husband & my best friend."

  2. 1/14/13: Indiana man says he forgives parents for allegedly abducting son in 1994, wants to be reunited

    Richard Landers said he understands his son's feelings about his grandparents.

    "It's the people he's grown up with. He feels he's in a nice place. He's been taken care of by them all his life, pretty much," he said.

    He said he's eager to be reacquainted with his son and to tell him he loves him, although he said he can't afford to go to Minnesota right now and doesn't know his son's phone number.

    "I don't know him like everyone else knows their son, but that don't stop the love," he said.

    He said he forgives his parents, but can't understand why they never tried to get in touch with him or his older brother, Dallas, from whom Landers is estranged.

    "I have to forgive them. My faith won't let me do anything else," he said.

    Landers said he doesn't know whether his son would have been better off if he'd been raised by him or his former wife.

    "I really don't know. I would have liked to have him here with me. However, I know that he was taken care of. So for me to sit and say he would have had a better life with me or a better life with the mom, I don't know because after got divorced there's that issue, too," he said. "He would have had to go back and forth between parents."

  3. I think this is very weird. There are several ways to get your rights. Grandparents have visitation right, They could have take legal help for a lawyer to get their right if they have true feelings for their grandchild's. Illinois Grandparents Visitation Rights


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