Investigator says he didn't fear for abducted boy's safety - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Investigator says he didn't fear for abducted boy's safety

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INDIANAPOLIS -

A sheriff's deputy who investigated the 1994 disappearance of an Indiana boy who has been found living as an adult in Minnesota says he never feared for the child's safety.

Seventy-year-old retired LaGrange County sheriff's deputy John Russell said Friday he spent at least two months investigating the disappearance of then-5-year-old Richard Wayne Landers Jr. from Wolcottville, Ind., but kept running into dead ends.

Police say the boy's paternal grandparents took him out of state during a dispute with his parents over his custody.

Russell says the grandparents had raised the boy since birth but he isn't sure they had legal custody.

He says he understands why they took the child, but it was still wrong. But he says he never thought the child was in any danger.

Official: Abducted Ind. boy's mother lived in car

Authorities have identified a 24-year-old man recently discovered living in Minnesota under an assumed name nearly two decades after his grandparents abducted him from Indiana.
 
The Todd County Sheriff's Office says Richard Wayne Landers Jr. now lives in the small central Minnesota town of Browerville under the name Michael Jeff Landers.
 
Indiana State Police announced Thursday that Landers had been found. Police said Landers' paternal grandparents took him because they were upset over custody arrangements.
 
Documents show Landers changed his name in 2006.
 
Minnesota officials say the grandparents, Raymond Michael Iddings and Susan Kay Iddings, verified Landers' identity.
 
Charges against the grandparents were dismissed in 2008 because the case had gone cold. The Minnesota sheriff said the case will eventually be forwarded to federal prosecutors for possible charges.

Boss: Grandfather of abducted boy model employee

A Minnesota dairyman says he was stunned to learn that one of his workers is accused of abducting his 5-year-old grandson nearly 20 years ago in an Indiana custody dispute.
 
Patrick Lunemann of Twin Eagle Dairy near Clarissa says the grandfather, Raymond Iddings, has worked as a herdsman for him for more than a decade.
 
Authorities say Iddings and his wife took their grandson from his birth mother in 1994. They just announced this week that the grandson, now 24, was alive and well and living in Minnesota as Michael Jeff Landers.
 
Lunemann says the 67-year-old Iddings is a dedicated employee. And he says Michael Landers appears to be happy in Minnesota, and shares his grandfather's "motorhead" passion.

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