Maria Mancia and son Steve Hernandez reunited after 20 years

June 11, 2016 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Maria Mancia, a California mom, was reunited with her long lost son after 20 years. In 1995, Mrs. Mancia returned home to discover that her then 18-month-old baby boy, Steve Hernandez, was kidnapped by her husband, Valentin Hernandez, who fled to Mexico. Authorities eventually located the young Hernandez, now a 22-year-old law student, whose father has died.

Maria Mancia

After 20 years, Maria Mancia and her son, Steve Hernandez, have been reunited. The last time, Mancia, a California mother, saw her son he was only 18 months old and that was in her home in Rancho Cucamonga in 1995.

Mancia left for work, and when she returned home, she immediately assumed that they were robbed upon realizing that all of her husband’s Valentin Hernandez‘s belongings were taken, and the rooms were left in a shocking mess.

As it turned out, Hernandez had fled America with their baby boy to his native Mexico. Not only did Hernandez take the little boy, but he also left with every single family picture they ever owned, even the ultrasound of him during her pregnancy had vanished.

While searching for her child, the distressed mother was forced to contact relatives in Mexico, who eventually sent her a blurry picture of her son when he was a toddler. After 20 years of hard work, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Child Abduction Unit received a tip that Hernandez was living in Puebla, Mexico.

Moreover, the suggestion was correct, with the help of Mexican police, Steve Hernandez, who is now a 22-year-old law student, was located. Police also discovered that Hernandez senior, who had been missing, was dead. On Thursday, Steve Hernandez, who is an American citizen returned to California for a very moving reunion where the mother wept, and the son wiped away her tears. Hernandez said after meeting his mother:

“It was a shock. 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.”

The young man said that his late father had told him that his mother abandoned the two of them. Investigators revealed to the media that the couple was having relationship struggles when the kidnapping took place.

Authorities working on the case received a good tip in February that he was in Puebla, Mexico. Senior Investigator Karen Cragg, who led the search, said they had to approach Steve Hernandez delicately using the fact that his father was missing to obtain a DNA sample. Cragg said:

“We didn’t want him to know what was going on. We didn’t want to scare him off. We weren’t sure what the circumstances were down there. We had to tread very carefully.”

Cragg then asked the Department of Justice to fast-tract the test, knowing it could take several months. The official added:

“They called me in two weeks and said it was a match.”

When Ms. Cragg and her partner Michelle Faxon shared the news with Mancia, she broke down and cried. Cragg shared:

“It was like she didn’t believe us at first. She began to cry. She said she couldn’t believe he was still alive.”

He met his mother and found out that he has four younger siblings, including an eight-year-old brother, who came to the reunion, but mostly hid behind his mother. He said he plans to stay in the US and hopes to attend law school. He concluded by:

“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.”

What are your thoughts on this family reunion?


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