Thursday, Maria Mancia saw her son for the first time in 21 years.
Steve Hernandez was taken away from his mom more than two decades ago, by his father, the San Bernardino Sun reported.
When the boy's father abducted him from their Southern California home in 1995, he took every picture of him, even a pregnancy ultrasound, AP reported. Mancia wrote to a relative to get one picture to show the police.
She's been holding on to that photo ever since.
Hernandez’s father told him his mother abandoned them. In reality, she was searching for him, and worrying about his safety.
In February, the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Child Abduction Unit received a tip that Hernandez was living in Puebla, Mexico. They contacted him and said they were investigating his father, who was missing at the time, and needed an interview and DNA sample.
"We didn't want to scare him off,” Karen Cragg of the DA's child abduction unit told the New York Daily News.
In two weeks, the Department of Justice said the DNA was a match.
“It was a shock,” Hernandez told the Sun. “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.”
Thursday, the mother and son shared a tearful reunion at at the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office.
“All that time I didn’t know what had happened to him,” Mancia, now 42, told the San Bernardino Sun.
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