‘Never Give Up’: Mother Of Toddler Who Went Missing 31 Years Ago Shares Her Joy At Being Reunited With Him
Jermaine was located after authorities received a tip from a relative that he might be living in Connecticut under another name.
VERNON, CT — The mother of a toddler who was abducted in 1987 in Toronto has been reunited with her missing son 31 years later.
Lyneth Mann-Lewis found out that her son Jermaine Mann, now 33, had been located by authorities last week in Connecticut.
Mann-Lewis said that she immediately boarded a flight after hearing the news and was reunited with her son at a hotel. They talked for hours, according to Mann-Lewis, and she cooked him a meal.
“I grabbed him, and I squeezed his head and wanted to feel if he was real. I touched him and said, ‘Oh my God, my baby,'” she said at a news conference.
She told reporters that Jermaine responded by saying, “'Mommy, you have my eyes’ and he hugged me, and he kissed me, and we held there for a long time.”
Jermaine’s father, Allan Mann Jr., was arrested in Connecticut on Friday in connection with his son’s abduction. Police say Mann Jr., who has dual Canadian and Ghanian citizenship, fled with Jermaine during a court-ordered visitation in Toronto on June 24, 1987.
Authorities say he then entered the United States and obtained fake identification for himself and his son, including bogus Texas birth certificates.
The elder man was found living under the name Hailee DeSouza in Vernon, according to federal officials. The documents he was using were determined to be fake during an application for federally subsidized housing.
Jermaine was located after authorities received a tip from a relative that he might be living in Connecticut under another name, according to USA Today. The ensuing investigation involved agencies including HUD, the U.S. Marshals Service, Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration, as well as Toronto police and Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Jermaine's father has been accused of making false statements in transactions with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He is expected to be extradited to face an abduction charge in Canada.
Jermaine had believed that his mother was dead since he was a baby and Mann Jr. told him so. He had no idea that he had been abducted or that anyone had been searching for him.
Mann-Lewis offered words of encouragement to other families whose loved ones are missing. “I am the proof that after 31 long years of suffering one should never give up,” she said. “Be patient, be strong, and believe that all things are possible.”
Read more: USA Today, BBC, Courant