More than three decades after he went missing, a Toronto-area mother was able to embrace her son for the first time over the weekend, after being told the police had found him.
Thirty-three year old Jermaine Mann grew up believing that his mother died when he was young — it was the story his father, who has been accused of abducting him, told him.
“It has been a long and hard journey since my son was abducted,” Lyneth Mann-Lewis, the mother, said at a news conference in Toronto on Monday. “I have endured many hard days, some which are extremely difficult to describe. Today, with utmost happiness, I am here to share with you the end of a journey. The constant worrying is finally over.”
Allan Mann Jr. allegedly abducted his then 21-month-old son Jermaine after his mother dropped him off for a court-ordered visit in 1987.
Mann took the child to the U.S., and lived for some time in the Bronx and in North Carolina before settling in Connecticut about 20 years ago, police said.
Police in Canada and the U.S. have been working to find the pair ever since.
In August, U.S. Marshals reached out to the Toronto Police Fugitive Squad with a possible photo of Mann, which was then compared to a photo from 1987 using facial recognition software.
“Oh, Mommy, you have my eyes.”
Mann, 66, was living under a different name, and a Texas birth certificate. He was arrested in his Vernon, Ct. home. He’s facing charges in the U.S. and will face an abduction charge if he is extradited to Canada.
“I grabbed him and I squeezed his head. I wanted to feel if he [was] real. I touched him and said ‘Oh my god, my baby,’” Lyneth Mann-Lewis said, describing the long-awaited reunion.
“He said ‘Oh, Mommy, you have my eyes.’ He hugged me and he kissed me, and we held there for a long time. ”
Mann-Lewis and her son quickly discovered that they had a lot in common — from their eyes to their taste in music.
“I want to encourage other families with missing children and loved ones not to ever, ever give up hope on finding them,” Mann-Lewis said.
“I am the proof that after 31 long years of suffering – 31 long years – one should never give up.”
Cover image of Lyneth Mann-Lewis, right, of Brampton, Ont., discusses what it was like reuniting with her son Jermaine Mann, who until recently, was living under an alias in the U.S, during a press conference at Toronto Police Headquarters in Toronto on Monday, October 29, 2018. Photo by Tijana Martin/The Canadian Press