Investigator never feared missing boy found in MN was in danger

5:45 PM, Jan 11, 2013   |    comments
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INDIANAPOLIS - A sheriff's deputy who investigated the 1994 disappearance of an Indiana boy who has been found living as an adult in Minnesota says he never feared for the child's safety.

Seventy-year-old retired LaGrange County sheriff's deputy John Russell said Friday he spent at least two months investigating the disappearance of then-5-year-old Richard Wayne Landers Jr. from Wolcottville, Ind., but kept running into dead ends.

Police say the boy's paternal grandparents took him out of state during a dispute with his parents over his custody.

Russell says the grandparents had raised the boy since birth but he isn't sure they had legal custody.

He says he understands why they took the child, but it was still wrong. But he says he never thought the child was in any danger.

Authorities contacted the Todd County Sheriff's Department after Landers' stepfather provided a social security number that was subsequently traced to a man in rural Browerville living under the the name of Michael Jeff Landers. His grandparents were located nearby, living their lives as Raymond and Susan Iddings.

At this point it is unclear if charges will be filed against the grandparents.  

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. )

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