Maria Mancia remembers vividly the day her son was snatched from their Southern California home in 1995.
Steve Hernandez was only 18-months-old when he was taken from his mother by his own father, Valentin Hernandez. His father even went so far as to remove every picture of Steve from his mother’s house – his ultrasound photo included – so that she was left with no trace of the boy whatsoever.
The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Child Abduction Unit worked for years to find Steve, but came up dry, until a useful tip led them to Pueblo, Mexico. There, they found Steve, who was now 22-years-old.
His father was missing and assumed to be dead.
“It was a shock,” Steve said, according to Shareably. “I didn’t know if she was alive or not and to get a call that says they found my mother and that she had been looking for me, it was like a cold bucket of water. But it’s good. It’s good.”
“All that time I didn’t know what had happened to him,” echoed Mancia. “Now this anguish I’ve carried is gone now that I have my son back. I spent 21 years looking for him not knowing anything.”
Steve studied law while he was in Mexico and plans to continue his education here in the United States. Watch the emotional reunion between him and his mother below, but make sure you’ve got some tissues on hand!
As a parent, this situation is unthinkable. If you have kids, you know that losing one of them is the most horrific thing that could ever happen to you. Though I have never dealt with a kidnapping personally, I would imagine that the grief of not knowing what happened to your child – whether or not they were alive, whether they had befallen some tragic fate – would be a kind of hell that no one should ever have to experience.
SHARE this story of Steve Hernandez and Maria Mancia’s reunion if you’re happy they found each other after so many years apart!