@@ Ohio Teen Unintentionally Solves His Own 13-Year Abduction Case

 

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The bond between a parent and a child is unparalleled. A parent and child grow and mature simultaneously, and become the biggest parts of each other’s lives. Being able to see your child make decisions (good or bad) and learn from their accomplishments and mistakes are some of the most rewarding moments in a parent’s life. A parent not getting the chance to experience these times with their child is a gut-wrenching feeling.

18-year old J.J. Mangina lived with his father for most of his childhood in the city of Cleveland, Ohio. Mangina spent his days doing normal kid stuff. He excelled in school where he achieved straight A’s. He was an athlete that starred for Cleveland High School, and he shared a great relationship with his dad who was a single parent. Or so he thought…

Who Am I?

GoodTherapy

When Mangina was applying for colleges in his senior year of high school, one of his school counselors noticed a peculiar discrepancy with his identification. It turns out he wasn’t quite who he thought he was, and that his dad certainly had a lot of explaining to do

Sweet Home Alabama

WATE.com

JJ Mangina was originally born in Alabama to his father Jonathan and his girlfriend (who has yet to be named). The couple were never married, but both played a part in his upbringing. According to Jonathan, JJ’s mother left the family when he was just five years old. Instead of dwelling on the mother’s departure, Jonathan decided to uproot himself and his son by moving to Cleveland, Ohio. After enjoying a successful high school career, JJ spent his senior year of high school applying to colleges. However, JJ never could have expected what would come next

Web Of Lies

HISD Blogs Sites

JJ’s good grades and extracurricular activities ensured that he would get into a majority of the schools of his choosing. However, as anybody that has filled out a college application can tell you, the paperwork can be very intense and demanding. While filling out the paperwork, JJ was in need of his father’s tax information. This is when Jonathan’s life of secrecy began to catch up to him

Have You Seen Me?

DailyEntertainmentNews.com

Unbeknownst to JJ, it turns out that he and his father Jonathan weren’t exactly who they said they were. This all came to fruition when an admissions counselor happened to discover a discrepancy with the applicant’s Social Security number. After doing a quick bit of research, the counselor discovered the number belonged to a boy named Julian Hernandez (JJ’s real name) that was mentioned on a missing person’s report filed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. His father, Jonathan Mangina, was actually named Bobby Hernandez.

Once this became apparent, the full story from Bobby (Jonathan) finally came out

Vestavia Hills

BBC.com

On a summer day in 2002, Julian’s (JJ’s) mother left her house in Vestavia Hills to run some errands. She had asked Bobby (Jonathan) to watch over their son in the meantime. Bobby (Jonathan) and Julian’s mother lived in separate units in the same apartment complex, so this sort of thing was a normal occurrence. Julian’s mother would leave the apartment that day not knowing that would be the last time she would lay eyes on her son

Hitting The Road

goshery

While Julian’s mother was gone, Bobby went through with his plan to leave town. He packed his and his son’s things, emptied his bank account, and hit the road, not letting Julian’s mother know of his intentions. When the mother arrived back at the apartment, all that was left was a note stating that they were gone. On August 28, 2002, Julian’s mother reported her son missing

O-H-I-O

Spotern

On the day that Bobby and Julian had left Alabama, they actually didn’t flee too far away. The father and son moved to Cleveland, Ohio which is only about a 10-hour drive north of Julian’s original home. The pair would begin their new lives away from Julian’s mother. To make sure that they were never discovered, Bobby had all identification about the pair changed. They would adopt brand new identities and backgrounds. Bobby and Julian even adopted a new alias — Jonathan and J.J. Mangina

The Manginas

afroLAD

Authorities immediately began a massive search in hopes of finding the young boy. Posters were put up around town and on the internet depicting Julian’s appearance. They were searching for a brown haired boy with big brown eyes. A distinguishing factor on young Julian’s face was his left cheek which was dimpled and that he may stutter. The father and son had vanished, and Julian’s mother and her family were left dumbfounded

No. 1 Dad

Heavy.com

Bobby would raise his son by himself and take over all duties in care taking. He began a job in a factory while Julian attended school. By Julian’s account, Bobby was a “perfect father” during this time — taking care of his son both financially and emotionally. During this time, Julian, living under the name J.J. Mangina, enjoyed a fairly normal upbringing

The Counselor

The New York Times

The search wore on over the years, picking up numerous tips every so often. None of these ever led to anything substantial, as Julian’s mother could do nothing but mourn the loss of her son. The police had suspected he had been taken by a “non-custodial” parent, although there was no way of tracking a suspect down. All hope was lost. That is until they received a massive break from Julian’s school counselor

The Unknown

Deccan Chronicle

Julian’s confusion with the entire situation was justified. In fact, he didn’t even know he had been abducted. Being that he was just five years old when Bobby decided to drastically change both of their lives, it’s likely that Julian doesn’t remember much of his childhood. Bobby spent the next few years of his life telling Julian that his mother had actually left them, making Julian’s mother out to be a terrible person

Behind Bars

ABC7 News

After Julian had been discovered, it didn’t take long for authorities to take Bobby into custody — he was arrested on November 2, 2015. Just a few short weeks later, Bobby Hernandez was indicted on charges of kidnapping, interference with custody, forgery (first-degree, fifth-degree, and misdemeanor), and tampering with records. The forgery and tampering charges had to do with his falsification of records, which included Julian’s fake birth certificate to enroll him in school

Mother’s Dream Come True

WFLA.com

Julian’s mother was rightfully ecstatic to know her son had been found. When the police first called her to share the good news, she was understandably wary of the claim. Once it had been confirmed, she was overcome with joy.

Revenge?

Daily Mail

In the case against Bobby Hernandez, the attorney for Julian’s mother had stated that Bobby executed this plan because he was exacting revenge on Julian’s mother for leaving him. Julian’s maternal grandmother even chipped in asking for a sentence to be “as long as our suffering has been.”

Making His Case

NCAA.org

Bobby’s court-appointed attorney, Ralph DeFranco, defended Hernandez’s intentions during the court hearing process. He insisted that Bobby couldn’t have done better during Julian’s upbringing. DeFranco brought up how much Julian excelled in both school and sports, and credited Bobby’s parental guidance as the driving force for these accomplishments. Bobby had told DeFranco that he knew he would one day be caught, and that he felt terribly about how the entire situation went down.

Standing Up For Dad

Daily Mail

Throughout the process, Julian continuously defended his father. He referred to Bobby as the “perfect father,” and commended him for all that he had done for him throughout his life. During the day of Bobby’s sentencing, Julian asked the judge not to send his father to jail

Personal Account

Valley Recreation Center

Unsure of how to deal with the case, Julian even sought out advice on the internet. Julian posted on the popular message board Reddit before the story had even broke. An excerpt from the post read:

Sometime between the ages of 3 and 5, my dad took me, against a court order, away from my mother without me even knowing this. He changed my name and SSN and did something similar for himself.

I have lived my entire life up until a few days ago oblivious to this fact (I was told the name people had been calling me when I was young was my current middle name.) I only discovered all this as I was applying for scholarships. …

I’m not angry at my father in the slightest. I remember that he used to ask me “If I ever committed a terrible crime, would you still love me?” I still do, even after learning everything.

32 Counts

WKYC.com

After being charged by a grand jury on 32 counts, Hernandez ended up pleading guilty to two counts of kidnapping, two counts of interference of custody, one count of forgery and ten counts of tampering with records. On April 13, 2015, Hernandez was sentenced to four years in prison in Ohio.

Thanksgiving Reunion

The Tempest

Julian has continued on with his life. He asks that the media and paparazzi leave him alone, and allow him to live peacefully. Being that he couldn’t have seen any of this coming, Julian simply wishes that everything could go back to the way it was before he knew of his father’s wrongdoings. In an attempt to reconnect with his mother, Julian spent Thanksgiving of 2015 with her in Alabama. It’s unknown if they are still in contact to this day.

Backfired

CBS News

Bobby’s father made an impulsive move that affected the lives of countless people. Julian’s mother was left not knowing the well-being or the whereabouts of her son. Julian was made to believe his mother was a terrible person. Neither were afforded the opportunity to be present in each other’s lives for an important period of Julian’s life. No matter the intentions, Bobby now faces the consequences of his actions.

 

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