An Indiana man has reunited with his father after being abducted by his mother more than 18 years ago.
Nathan Slinkard was only 5 years old when he and his siblings, Andrew, 7, and Sydney, 3, disappeared from Greenfield. Authorities say the mother, Trena Slinkard, did not return them to their father, Andrew Slinkard, after he filed a motion seeking full custody.
That was in 1995.
Nathan Slinkard, now 23, was reunited with his father on Tuesday, almost a week after walking into the United States Consulate in Guadalajara, Mexico. He identified himself and asked to come home to the U.S. He provided his Social Security card, birth certificate and scars to confirm his identity to officials.
“We all thought that after all the kids were legal that this would happen. It’s just awesome that it still happened after all these years,” Hancock Country Sheriff’s Department Lt. Ted Munden said, according to CBS News.
Munden said investigators pursued tips about possible sightings of the family for years, but they always proved false.
The Lieutenant was there for the emotional reunion between father and son.
“They were nervous,” he said of the father and son. “The dad asked me on the way there, ‘What do I do? Do I shake his hand or give him a hug?’ I said, ‘You will know when you see him.’”
Nathan immediately recognized his father and hugged him, Munden told CNN.
While the whereabouts of Nathan’s siblings, Sydney and Andrew, are not known,, Nathan did tell officials they are safe. Munden said Andrew and Sydney know they are free to return to the U.S.
“He knew his story,” Munden said of Nathan, who found media coverage of the case throughout the years thanks to the Internet. Trena Slinkard “never spoke bad of [Nathan’s] father. [Nathan] even had a picture of them from just before they left.”
Nathan decided to come back now, while his siblings are “just not ready to do that yet,” Munden added.
There is still a state warrant out for Trena Slinkard’s arrest in the custody case, but police may drop it if the kids come back, according to CBS News.
However, investigators would want Trena Slinkard to have “one sit down with Steven and the three children.”
Sources: Indy Star, CNN, CBS News