After three agonizing decades, a mother has finally been reunited with her son after he had been abducted when he was just shy of two years old.
After 31 years apart, Lyneth Mann-Lewis had an emotional reunion with her son Jermaine Mann after his father Alan Mann Jr. had allegedly abducted him and illegally relocated to the United States.
Jermaine, who was raised under an assumed name, was only 21 months old when he was separated from his mother and grew up to believe she had passed away.
"They lived, basically, a life of lies as to who they were and what they did, unbeknownst to Jermaine," Toronto police Det. Sgt. Wayne Banks said. "He was under the impression that his mother had died shortly after birth."
However, everything would change forever when the pair had finally reconnected this past Saturday.
"I grabbed him and I squeezed his head "“ I wanted to feel if he's real."
Mann-Lewis, who resides in Brampton, Ontario, was informed by the Missing Children Society of Canada that they had finally tracked down her son following a multi-jurisdictional investigation with the Toronto police fugitive squad and the United States Marshals Service.
Banks said authorities had used facial recognition technology to identify Mann, and now faces several charges in the US.
He added that after those are dealt with, Mann will also be extradited to Canada to face his parental abduction charges.
Mann-Lewis said prior to reuniting with her son in Connecticut, she was filled with nerves, especially since her initial flight was cancelled and she was forced to catch a later one.
But, it was all worth it in the end, as she was finally able to embrace Jermaine once again.
"I grabbed him and I squeezed his head "“ I wanted to feel if he's real. I touched him and said 'oh my God my baby.' He replied 'Oh mummy, you have my eyes," Mann-Lewis said at a news conference this past Monday.
Mann-Lewis added she was thrilled to be able to make a home-cooked meal for her son, and that he even broke his vegetarian diet and ate her chicken.
"I am the proof that after 31 long years of suffering, one should never give up."
Amanda Pick of the Missing Children Society said the reunion wrapped up a case that had been ongoing for decades and praised both law enforcement, Mann-Lewis and her family for their dedication to the case.
"Lyneth and her family have been a tower of strength and perseverance throughout the investigation," she said. "During all these years her strength and her courage always gave us hope and spurred us to never give up."
Mann-Lewis hopes her story will encourage other families to remain hopeful that they will one day be reunited with their children.
"I am the proof that after 31 long years of suffering, one should never give up," she said.
"Be patient, be strong, and believe that all things are possible and that anything can transpire."
You can watch the entire press conference here:
We're overjoyed with the long-awaited reunion between Mann-Lewis and her son, and have no doubt they'll make up for all their lost time.