October 30 2018
Mother reunited with son kidnapped 31 years ago
A Canadian mother has revealed her emotional reunion with her son who was abducted as a toddler 31 years ago.
Jermaine Allan Mann was allegedly kidnapped by his father when he was 21 months old during a scheduled visit in Canada.
Told his mother had died shortly after his birth, he lived with his father under assumed names in the US.
But the cold case was finally cracked last week, ending a three-decade search that crossed two countries.
“Words couldn’t express what I felt. The words ‘Your son is alive, we found him’ – that is breathtaking,” Lyneth Mann-Lewis, from Canada, said about learning her son had been found.
Ms Mann-Lewis flew to the US last week to meet her boy, now a 33-year-old man.
“I grabbed him, and I squeezed his head and wanted to feel if he was real. I touched him and said, ‘Oh my God, my baby’.”
Lyneth Mann-Lewis (right) has been reunited with her son Jermaine Mann after he was abducted 31 years earlier. (AAP)
She said her son replied: “Mummy you have my eyes’ and he hugged me, and he kissed me, and we held there for a long time.”
Ms Mann-Lewis said she cooked for her son and recounted the details of her life during hours-long conversations at her hotel last week.
“I want to encourage other families with missing children and loved ones not to ever, ever give up in finding them. I am the proof that after 31 long years of suffering one should never give up,” she told a news conference this week.
“Be patient, be strong, and believe that all things are possible.”
Mr Mann’s father, Allan Mann Jr, was arrested in the US state of Connecticut last week, accused of abducting his son during a court-ordered visitation in Toronto on June 24, 1987.
Authorities say he then entered the US — where he had relatives — and obtained fake identification for himself and his son, including bogus Texas birth certificates.
Officials received a tip from a relative that he might be living in Connecticut under another name.
Allan Mann Jr (left) has been arrested while his son, Jermaine Allan Mann (right), has been reunited with his mum. (NBC Connecticut)
The 66-year-old appeared briefly on Friday in federal court, facing charges of making false statements in transactions with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Local media reported that the son sobbed quietly in the front row with his head in his hands and left the courthouse without commenting.
“They lived, basically, a life of lies as to who they were and what they did, unbeknownst to Jermaine,” Toronto Police Detective Wayne Banks said.
Mr Mann, who has dual Canadian and Ghanaian citizenship, was found living under the name Hailee DeSouza, federal officials said.
After facing his charges in the US, the father is expected to be extradited to face an abduction charge in Canada.
In August, US marshals interviewed several of Mr Mann’s relatives and friends, including a family member who led authorities to Connecticut and his alleged alias, according to an arrest warrant affidavit prepared by a HUD special agent.
Later that month, a forensic specialist from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children analysed an old photo of Allan Mann and the 2015 photo on DeSouza’s Connecticut driver’s license and determined they were likely the same person, the warrant said.
The investigation has involved multiple US agencies including HUD, the US Marshals Service, Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration, as well as Toronto police and Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said that his agency had held a conference on fugitive training in 2016 and said this very case was discussed with US law enforcement officials.