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Mom in contact with missing child found after 13 years

A teen who was reported missing from Alabama in 2002 has been found living in Cleveland, Ohio
A teen who was reported missing from Alabama ... 03:54

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Vestavia Hills, Alabama police say a child missing from the area since 2002 has been located in Ohio, according to CBS Cleveland affiliate WOIO-TV.

Julian Hernandez was reported missing by his mother in August 2002 when he was 5 years old. He is now 18.

It was suspected at the time that Julian's father, Bobby Hernandez, took the child.

Police said the Alabama woman who reported her 5-year-old son missing 13 years ago has been in touch with the young man since he was recently found in Ohio, WOIO reported.

A 2002 photo of Julian Hernandez is seen next to an age-progressed photo. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Lt. Johnny Evans of the Vestavia Hills Police Department, near Birmingham, said he informed the mother Monday afternoon that he'd been found. He said she was thrilled but apprehensive as first because she's dealt with many false alarms.

Evans said Thursday that there has been contact, but he's not sure whether it was by email, phone other methods.

Evans said he doesn't know much about what Julian Hernandez has been doing but that he's been told he's "a very good student" and by all accounts a well-adjusted young man.

Evans said, "It seems to be he was taken care of." Police said he's been living in Ohio with his father, who will likely face charges.

A person identified by police as a spokesman for the mother didn't immediately return a message seeking comment. Police said she's requested privacy. Her name hasn't been released.

The Cleveland Division of the FBI said it received a tip October 30 that a person living in the city could be a missing child from Alabama. Three days later, authorities confirmed that person is Julian Hernandez.

Bobby Hernandez has been arrested and charged in Ohio in connection to the abduction and will also face charges in Jefferson County, Alabama. He is being held in Cuyahoga County on a $255,000 bond. He could face additional charges, Vestavia Hills police said.

Bobby Hernandez mugshot
Bobby Hernandez mugshot. WOIO-TV/Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Jail

"We are in the process of getting charges on him and when that happens, when he is adjudicated in Ohio, then he will be extradited back to Jefferson County," Vestavia Hills Police Lt. Johnny Evans said.

Julian's mother and family have been notified that he was found safe.

"She was excited. She was glad to finally get closure to know that he is still alive, 'cause after 13 years of not knowing she was glad to see that he was still alive," Evans said.

Jefferson County District Attorney Brandon Falls said red flags were raised when Julian tried to apply for college. Falls said Julian's Social Security number kept coming back as incorrect. He then approached a school counselor for help. In trying to assist Julian, she discovered he was listed as missing by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Falls said it's unlikely Julian knew he was listed as missing. Falls added that he is seeking interference with custody charges in Alabama against Bobby Hernandez, which is a class C felony and carries a prison term of 1-10 years.

Vestavia Hills Police thanked the FBI's Violent Crime Task Force, the Birmingham Division of the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for their assistance in the case.

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