Cuyahoga County

Bobby Hernandez pleads guilty to kidnapping charges

3/14/2016

Cleveland – The Alabama man who spirited his young son away from the boy’s mother in 2002 and brought him to Cleveland where they lived for 13 years under false identities has pled guilty to kidnapping and related charges, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty announced today.

Bobby Hernandez, 53, entered a plea of guilty to two counts of Kidnapping, 10 counts of Tampering with Records, two counts of Interference with Custody and one count of Forgery. All counts, except the Forgery, are felonies.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Cassandra Collier-Williams accepted the pleas, found the defendant guilty and set a sentencing date of April 13. Mr. Hernandez faces up to 54 years in prison.

“This conviction is meant to send a message to anyone else who might seek to punish the other parent by kidnapping their child: There will be a high price to pay,” Prosecutor McGinty said after the hearing. “Depriving a mother of her child and a son of his mother’s love for 13 years is a cruel crime.”

Mr. Hernandez and his former girlfriend were ending their relationship in August of 2002 when he and their son disappeared. Police reports at the time indicated that Mr. Hernandez had told the boy’s mother that if she ever broke up with him, she’d never see her son again.

Mr. Hernandez brought the boy to Cleveland where Mr. Hernandez created false identities for himself —he went by the name Jonathan Mangina — and his son.

Cleveland police arrested Mr. Hernandez on November 2, 2015, after the FBI received a tip that he and his missing son were living in Cleveland.

“We weren’t going to let this go and proceed lightly,” Prosecutor McGinty said. “Just think if this was your child or your grandchild, what a terrible thing it would be. You would wonder everyday what had happened to him.”

Contact: Joseph Frolik, Director of Communications and Public Policy. Phone: 216.443.7488 or Email: jfrolik@prosecutor.cuyahogacounty.us