“‘Your son is alive, we’ve found him.'” After 31 years of separation, Lyneth Mann-Lewis told reporters she was finally reunited with her son.
ABC reports, in 1987 the 2-year-old boy was allegedly taken by his father. According to federal officials, Jermaine Mann was abducted during a court-mandated visit in Toronto.
He reportedly lived with his father Allan Mann in the United States under a false identity.
Mann-Lewis heard no news of his whereabouts until three decades later. Last week, authorities notified the mom that her son had been found in Connecticut.
In a press conference at Toronto police headquarters on Monday, detectives told reporters that Jermaine was told his mother was deceased.
Watch a clip from the press conference below:
Mann-Lewis shared details of seeing her son at the conference. She said:
“Words can’t express what I felt. The words ‘your son is alive, we’ve found him’ — that is breathtaking.”
When describing the first moment they met after he had vanished 30 years ago, she added:
“I grabbed him and squeezed his head, I want to feel if he’s real. I touched him, I said ‘Oh my God, my baby.’”
Allan was arrested on Friday and charged with making false statements. Authorities with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development discovered Allan allegedly used a fake birth certificate to get subsidized government housing.
The 66-year-old is expected to be extradited to Canada on an abduction charge. He was living in Hartford as Hailee Randolph DeSouza.
Mann-Lewis encouraged families of missing loved ones who have “endured many hard days” of suffering to stay strong while searching for family members. She said:
“I want to encourage other families with missing children and loved ones not to ever, ever give up hope on finding them. I am the proof that after 31 long years of suffering, 31 long years, one should never give up.
But be patient. Be strong and believe that all things are possible and that anything can transpire.”
Mann-Lewis believes her remarkable story can bring hope to others.
Watch below for the full press conference: