Man Sentenced to Four Years in Prison for Kidnapping Son, Bringing Him to Cleveland Under Fake Name

Update: Today, Judge Cassandra Collier-Williams sentenced Bobby Hernandez to four years in prison for kidnapping his son from Alabama more than a decade ago and bringing him to Cleveland under a fake name, while noting that the story is a mother's worst nightmare.

It was an emotional morning in the courtroom as Hernandez's son and his mother were present and spoke.

"Growing up without my mother was hard at times. Taking my father away from me now just increases the pain from that," Julian, the son, said, according to Cleveland 19. "I can't imagine my father not being a part of my life."

"Our lives were changed forever August 28, 2002," Julian's mother said in a statement read by her attorney, Gloria Allred. "Julian's abduction also affected my family and friends.... I can never get back the 13 years that were stolen from me."

Prosecutor Tim McGinty had been pushing for severe jail time — he faced up to 54 years.

"Mr. Hernandez has taken full responsibility. He stepped over a line and he cannot step back," Judge Collier-Williams said. 


Update (3/14/16): Bobby Hernandez pleaded guilty today to kidnapping his son Julian from Alabama and bringing him to Cleveland. Julian was five at the time, in 2002, when his father moved him to Ohio. His son lived here, under a fake name given to him by his father, for more than 13 years without knowing his true identity. He learned that true identity after trouble confirming his social security number while applying for college led he and his counselor to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

Hernandez faces up to 54 years in prison.


(Original story, 11/25/15): Bobby Hernandez, the 54-year-old Cleveland father accused of kidnapping his son Julian more than 13 years ago from his Alabama home, was indicted this week on a whole string of charges including, Fox 8 reports, including:

- Six counts of Kidnapping, a first-degree felony
- Four counts of Interference with Custody, a fifth-degree felony
- 11 counts of Tampering with Records, a third-degree felony
- One count of Forgery (Uttering), a fifth degree felony
- Five counts of fifth-degree felony Forgery
- Five counts of first-degree misdemeanor Forgery

"Mr. Hernandez selfishly deprived this child of his mother, and the mother her child," Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said in a statement. "They lost any chance to bond, nurture and enjoy the benefits of this vital relationship. This indictment should send a strong message to anyone considering stealing their child."

Julian was first reported missing back in 2002 when he was just five years old and living with his mother in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. It wasn't until earlier this month when Julian — who is now 18 — discovered his own kidnapping while trying to verify his social security number for his college applications. 

Since the news of his abduction broke, both Julian and his mother have repeatedly asked for privacy and have declined media requests for interviews.

Hernandez is scheduled to appear in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court for arraignment on Dec. 1. He is being held on $250,000 bond. 

Now see: "I Was Abducted By My Father At the Age of Four" — One Cleveland Woman's Story