This is a press release from the Todd County Sheriff’s Department in Minnesota in reference to the LaGrange County boy who was abducted 18 years ago. Yesterday I talked with the Sheriff, Peter Mikkelson, and although he couldn’t comment on the investigation last night, he said he’d send a press release sometime today. I’ll have more on this as the story continues to develop.
News Release – 1-11-2013
Assist to Indiana State Police – 1994 Abduction Case
The Todd County Sheriff’s Office received a request from the Indiana State Police to assist them in the investigation into an abduction case that was reported in LaGrange County, Indiana, in 1994. A 5 year old boy, Richard Wayne Landers Jr., was believed to have been abducted by his paternal grandparents. The grandparents Richard E. Landers and Ruth A. Landers were allegedly upset over pending court proceedings regarding the placement of their grandson. The Landers allegedly took their grandson and left their home in the Wolcottville, In. area to an unknown location.
LaGrange County initiated an investigation and information on the boy was placed into several missing children clearinghouses as he was considered a missing and endangered child. Arrest warrants were subsequently issued for both grandparents charging them with Interference with Custody, a Class B Misdemeanor. In 1999, those charges were elevated to Interference with Custody, a Class C Felony. In September of 2008, with neither the child nor his grandparents ever having been located, the LaGrange County Prosecutor’s Office filed a letter with the Court and the charges were dropped.
During the years following the abduction, several detectives worked with the parents of Richard W. Landers in continuing efforts to locate their missing son. In September of 2012, the boy’s step father contacted the Indiana State Police and provided them with the young boy’s social security card. After conducting further investigation, a man from Long Prairie, MN was found using the same Social Security number and date of birth as the missing boy from LaGrange County. The man’s drivers license photograph even appeared to bear a potentially similar resemblance as to how the missing boy might look as an adult.
The Indiana State Police presented the case to the Todd County Sheriff’s Office for assistance. The Todd County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Social Security Administration assisted the Indiana State Police in the investigation.
As a result of the investigation, it was determined that the young adult was in fact Richard Wayne Landers Jr. and is now living under the name Michael Jeff Landers in rural Browerville. The grandparents are now living under the names Raymond Michael Iddings, 67, and Susan Kay Iddings, 63, in rural Browerville. In statements to Investigators, the grandparents indicated their true identities and verified that the young man was Richard Wayne Landers, Jr.
The investigation into this matter is ongoing. Once it is completed, it will be forwarded to the United States Attorney General’s Office for review of possible charges.
Sheriff Peter J. Mikkelson
Todd County Sheriff’s Office