Indiana father forgives parents, wants to see son

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 13, 2013 at 7:12 pm •  Published: January 13, 2013
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A posting from Michael Landers' Facebook account appeared Friday night on the Minneapolis television station KARE's Facebook page, saying: "For you people who jump to conclusions you should find out the whole story I was where I needed to be. My 'grandparents' were in the the right I dont care what anyone else thinks."

The AP believes it is Landers' Facebook account based on multiple links between it and confirmed friends and relatives.

His wife, Bobbie Landers, also wrote on Facebook that her husband understands that his disappearance must have been "hard for his mom. He doesn't discount that at all. He doesn't know how he feels about her and his parents (grandparents) have never said or told him anything negative about her," she wrote.

She didn't mention her husband's father.

Investigators searched in vain for the boy after he disappeared in 1994, but eventually declared the case cold. It was reopened in September after a conversation between Richard Landers Sr. and an Indiana State Police detective prompted another search of the Social Security number for Richard Landers Jr.

That turned up a Minnesota man, Michael Landers, who had the same number and birthday as his son.

Todd County Sheriff Peter Mikkelson has said the investigation was ongoing and the case will be forwarded to federal authorities for possible charges, perhaps related to non-custodial kidnapping.

Richard Landers said he understands his son's feelings about his grandparents.

"It's the people he's grown up with. He feels he's in a nice place. He's been taken care of by them all his life, pretty much," he said.

He said he's eager to be reacquainted with his son and to tell him he loves him, although he said he can't afford to go to Minnesota right now and doesn't know his son's phone number.

"I don't know him like everyone else knows their son, but that don't stop the love," he said.

He said he forgives his parents, but can't understand why they never tried to get in touch with him or his older brother, Dallas, from whom Landers is estranged.

"I have to forgive them. My faith won't let me do anything else," he said.

Landers said he doesn't know whether his son would have been better off if he'd been raised by him or his former wife.

"I really don't know. I would have liked to have him here with me. However, I know that he was taken care of. So for me to sit and say he would have had a better life with me or a better life with the mom, I don't know because after got divorced there's that issue, too," he said. "He would have had to go back and forth between parents."

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Steve Karnowski in Minneapolis contributed to this report.