Mom Finds Kidnapped Son After A 21 Year Search

Steve Hernandez & Maria Mancia
Steve Hernandez & Maria Mancia Reunion. ( Christopher Lee/San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office )

If you are trying to find a missing person or long-lost family member, this story will give you incentive to carry on with your search. If you are trying to find a person, never give up hope and never give up your people search.

This was a mother and child reunion that was two decades in the making. A California woman has finally been reunited with her long-lost son, 21 years after his father kidnapped him and fled to Mexico with him.

Steve Hernandez was just 18 months old in 1995, when his father kidnapped him from their home in Rancho Cucamonga, California and took off to Mexico. His mother, Maria Mancia, came home to find that her son was missing, along with every picture that she had of him. Maria has spent the past 21 years working with the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Child Abduction Unit, trying to find Steve with only one blurry childhood photo of the boy for investigators to work with.

The District Attorney’s office released a public statement, saying that they were honored that they were able to find Steve after all of these years and bring him back to the United States to be with his mother.

Steve’s father, Valentin Hernandez, allegedly abducted him in 1995, after he and Maria had trouble in their relationship. Although Valentin is believed to be dead, there is still an outstanding warrant for him for the kidnapping and abduction of his son.

Last February, the DA’s office was informed that a U.S. citizen by the name of Steve Hernandez was living in Puebla, Mexico. However, the DA wasn’t sure it was the Steve Hernandez that they were searching for. Prior to the missing persons tip, the DA had assumed that Steve Hernandez was still living somewhere in the United States, and that is where they had been searching for him.

People from the DAs’ office were able to set up an interview with Steve and found out that his life story was similar to the person that they were trying to find. Eventually, the United States Department of Justice got involved, working with Mexican officials to obtain a DNA sample from Steve.

On May 31st, 2016, it was confirmed that he was the Steve Hernandez that investigators had been looking for for over two decades. At first, Maria didn’t believe that her son had been found, she couldn’t believe that he was still alive.

Last week Maria Mancia was finally reunited with her son, Steve Hernandez, after decades of worry and searching. Thankfully, Maria and investigators never gave up their search for her missing son.