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Son Is Reunited with Mom 21 Years after Being Kidnapped: 'She Had Never Given Up'

Brittany Chalmers
Mar 17, 2022
06:40 A.M.
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When a woman returned home from work, she discovered any mother's worst nightmare—her baby was missing. She realized he had been kidnapped and never stopped thinking about him. 

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Maria Mancia's life changed forever in 1995 when someone stole her 18-month-old son. The suspect, who was someone Mancia knew, took heirlooms, ultrasound photos, and various documents along with baby Steve.

The baby's father was the alleged kidnapper, and he kept Steve away from Mancia for more than two decades.

[Left] A mother and her long-lost son reunited after two decades apart; [Right] A mother whose son was kidnapped in 1995. | Source: facebook.com/sbcountyda

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THE MOTHER LONGED FOR HER SON

The mother's heartbreak and longing for her son felt never-ending, but she continued to believe they would meet again. Mancia thought about her son frequently and wondered if he would remember her with each passing year.

The California mom revealed that Steve's father, Valentin Hernandez, disagreed with her on many things after the baby was born.

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SHE GOT HER MIRACLE 

It was purported that Hernandez took Steve with him to Mexico to raise him as he saw fit. Thankfully, Mancia never gave up hope and remained in contact with the police. 

In 2016, twenty-one years after Steve's disappearance, she finally got her miracle. Authorities at the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Child Abduction Unit received news that her son might be in Mexico. 

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THE EMOTIONAL REUNION 

Once they performed a DNA test, they confirmed that he was indeed Mancia's son. The young man revealed that his father told him Mancia walked out on both of them when he was a baby.

He was emotional when he heard the truth. As Mancia hugged her 22-year-old son for the first time in two decades, she could not control her emotions. 

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SHE HAS HER SON BACK 

Investigators were thrilled to have helped reunite the duo, and their story touched many hearts. It also showed people that they should never give up hope that their loved ones would return. 

Tears ran down Mancia's face, and she shared: "Now this anguish I've carried is gone now that I have my son back." 

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IT WAS A SHOCK 

For Steve, it was a shock, but he was excited to get to know his mother. He stated: "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."

Despite the life-altering surprise, he said it was good to hear from his mother. The law student had plans to move his studies to the U.S. to be closer to Mancia and his newly discovered family. 

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MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME 

His father was believed to be deceased, but a $750,000 warrant for his arrest was still active. The grateful mother is thrilled to have an opportunity to make up for the lost time with her son. 

Thanks to the successful investigation, years of longing came to an end for Mancia, and her son finally got the chance to spend time with the mother he never knew. 

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ANOTHER CHILD KIDNAPPED BY THEIR PARENT

Sadly, children are kidnapped more than expected, and sometimes the parents are involved. Lyneth Mann-Lewis was also devastated when her baby disappeared in 1987. She wondered about him for 31 years before police had a breakthrough. 

The child's father, Allan Mann, was responsible for the kidnapping and moved him to Canada. After a lifetime apart, Jermaine Mann was finally located and reunited with his mother in 2018. Mann-Lewis was excited to get to know her son, like Mancia.

It was not easy for either of the families, but their stories give hope to many others who are still looking for lost loved ones. 

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