A California mother whose son was kidnapped 21 years ago never gave up the dream of one day being reunited with her son. Her dream has finally come true (video below).
Steve Hernandez was abducted by his father in 1995 when he was just 18 months old. His mother, Maria Mancia, returned home one day to find that her son had been taken by his father with no trace left behind. She was left with only a photo to remember him.
Mancia always dreamed of one day being reunited with her son. Now her dream has come true -- the mother has been reunited with her 22-year-old son, who was found living in Puebla, Mexico.
The San Bernardino County District Attorney's Child Abduction Unit led the search for Hernandez over the course of several years. In February, they finally got a tip that he may be in Mexico.
On June 9, the mother and son had an emotional reunion, which was captured on camera.
"Now this anguish I've carried is gone now that I have my son back," Mancia told KABC. "I spent 21 years looking for him not knowing anything."
Hernandez's father is missing and believed by some to be dead. Investigator Karen Cragg used this fact as an excuse to contact Hernandez.
"We told [Hernandez] we were investigating his father and we needed his DNA to help locate his father," Cragg told the Associated Press. "We didn't want to scare him off. We weren't sure what the circumstances were down there. We had to tread very carefully."
With DNA information, investigators were then able to match Hernandez and Mancia.
Hernandez said his father told him very little about his mother during his childhood.
"I lived all these years without my mother, then to find out she's alive in another country, it was emotional," Hernandez told KABC.
He learned during the reunion that he has four other siblings. Hernandez, an American citizen, plans to move to the U.S., with no plans of returning to Mexico.