teenage boy wearing yellow hoodie with a purple background

Teen Fills Out College Applications Only To Realize He’s Been A ‘Missing Person’ For 13 Years

A Premiere Daily Highlight Story: Sometimes there are tales that are just too good, too beautiful, or too remarkable to keep locked away. That’s why we scour the archives and bring some of them back to experience again. They may surprise you, make you smile, or even shed a tear, but they’re always meant to add a little extra to your day.


We have all come across certain pieces of news that are so unbelievable that we have had to reiterate them. Sure, they could be old- but what’s an age in the face of belief? The scenario, which made quite a big news back in the day, deserves an encore. This is the news of the identity of a teen from Ohio. An everyday event, right? No. This young adult found out that authorities had labeled him as a missing person for 13 years- but in the state of Alabama.

And how did he come across such information? Well, he was trying to validate his social security number. We can simply understand the thought process of this individual- after having found out that their entire existence was in doubt. 


The Curious Case of the Missing Teen From Alabama

This resulted in the teen’s father, Bobby Hernandez, being taken under custody in the state of Ohio for tampering charges. The law enforcement in the state of Alabama also went ahead and issued a warrant for arrest. Needless to say, the entire event was straight out of a CSI episode. Before we form our own conclusions about something that took place close to 7 years ago, we need to settle down something first. What do we know, and how far do we need to know? 


The teen, Julian Hernandez, was reported missing by his mother in August of 2002- as reported by the police at Vestavia Hills. He was reported to be 5 years old then, as he is 24 now. The law enforcement authorities tried scouring several leads over the years. While there were more than a few leads that led the police on a goose chase- all met a dead end. There were leads moving from Florida to Canada- and they finally concluded that this was a non-custodial parental abduction. It would probably have remained a mystery forever- until the investigation came together in 2015. This was when Julian decided to go looking for college- as stated by Lt. Johnny Evans. The enforcement official further stated, “And when he started the process, that’s when things kind of started coming together.” 

Read: They were madly in love but were forced to end their interracial romance. They reunited 42 years later—and now live together


The Main Investigation- Or A Window Into CSI: Alabama

These claims were justified by Brandon Falls, the DA of Jefferson County. In his interview, he mentioned, “My understanding is that he was applying to college, that there were some discrepancies in his Social Security number because both he and his dad were living under false names.” The teen was completely unable to provide apt validation for his Social Security Number. 

Falls further stated, “that he then worked with his own school counselor, and it was discovered that he was on the National Database for Missing and Exploited Children. At that point they, either he or his counselor, contacted the authorities in Ohio and that started their investigation.” Needless to say, this had stumped his mother. “She had not given up, but she hadn’t heard anything in a while. It was just kind of a shock to her… all of a sudden on a Monday afternoon to be told, ‘Hey, he’s found.” 

Bobby Hernandez, the father of the teen.
Image Credits: Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office

The authorities placed the teen’s father, Bobby Hernandez, in custody in Ohio, with a bond set at $250,000, according to records from the court. He was accused of records tampering, according to a complaint from the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. The official criminal complaint against him was that “he falsified identifying information to obtain fictitious State of Ohio identification card.” Brandon Falls informed ABC News that “It’s my understanding that the name they were using… was an actual person- so this was not completely a made-up name. But it was someone who was deceased as of 2002 here in Alabama.


Getting Back- The Teen Goes To College!

A father’s crime tore apart the relations between his teen son and his wife. And for this, he faced judicial persecution. According to the office of the district attorney, “the warrant concerns the taking of Julian Hernandez from the lawful custody of his mother on the 28th of August, 2002 from Vestavia Hills, Alabama, and the continuing interference with custody until the 18th birthday of Julian.

On the other side of the coin, Hernandez’s attorney appealed to the humane nature of the defendant. “I think he saw it coming someday, he just didn’t know when, or where. But really a very nice soft-spoken, gentleman who loves his son, and his son is in excellent condition.” This begets the question- can this justify his actions? 


Following the teen’s discovery, relations between his mother and him started improving by leaps and bounds. A representative for his mother stated,

Our family was overjoyed this week to locate Julian and learn that he is safe. We want to thank everyone for their prayers and support during Julian’s disappearance. Although we appreciate the interest our story has generated, we will have to decline any requests for interviews or additional information at this time.

Fair enough, but you can’t deny how remarkable this story was! A tale of an estranged teen, and his reunification with his mom. It would not surprise us if someone made a movie about this story in the coming decades!

Keep Reading: Colombian Mom Who Went Missing 2 Years Ago Discovered Alive Floating on the Sea



  1. ID of Alabama Boy Missing for 13 Years Revealed After He Tried to Validate Social Security Number.” ABC News. Emily Shapiro. November 5, 2015.