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Nathan Slinkard Returns Home 18 Years After Abduction

GREENFIELD, Ind. (AP) - Nathan Slinkard was 5 years old when his mother failed to return him to his father as an Indiana court had ordered.

On Tuesday, the 23-year-old man was back home with his father, about a week after he walked into the United States Consulate in Guadalajara, Mexico, and identified himself.

Nathan Slinkard arrived in Indianapolis last week, 18 years after he went missing, the Hancock County Sheriff's Department and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said Tuesday.

Slinkard, his brother, Andrew, and sister, Sydney, had been missing from Greenfield, a city about 20 miles east of Indianapolis, since October 1995, when authorities say their mother, Trena Slinkard, failed to return them despite a court order after their father filed a motion seeking full custody.

It wasn't immediately clear when the children were taken out of the United States, or under what circumstances Nathan Slinkard and the others separated. Sheriff's Department Lt. Ted Munden, the last local investigator in the case, said Nathan Slinkard hadn't divulged the others' locations but said they were safe and unconfined. Munden said Andrew and Sydney apparently know they are free to return to the U.S. if they desire.

Nathan Slinkard provided his Social Security card and birth certificate to consulate officials, who also used scars to confirm his identity. He asked to come home to the U.S., and the consulate gave him a temporary passport so he could.

Two investigators who had searched for the children over the years - Munden and Merideth Morrison of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children - assisted in his return.

After a stop in Houston, Nathan Slinkard arrived in Indianapolis Jan. 29 and was greeted by his father, Steve Slinkard, and his aunt.

"He's staying with Dad right now," Munden said Tuesday. "He's a good kid, lots of ambitions."

Merideth could not be contacted Tuesday. Officials said the family has requested privacy.

Missing Boy Returns Home 18 Years After Abduction

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Lois February 06 2014 at 10:27 AM

As someone whose child walked out on her at the age of 15 to go live with his father and, even though I knew where he was, despite my constantly contacting my son via letters, etc. and having no contact back from him or his father for 3 years I can identify with this man's pain. My son returned to me when he turned 18 and now, approximately 2 years later is living with me and has very little contact with his father. Everyone is assuming there had to be abuse or she was scared. Maybe she did this to hurt the father as revenge. The article leaves a lot out and one cannot assume the reasons for her actions. My ex did it for revenge--dragging me through the court system and trying to ruin me. I am so thankful that the court system did not contact the DA and bring charges against me based on the horrific allegations my ex leveled against me which the court appointed guardian and the law administrator who heard the support matter believed. This father is just grateful that his son has returned and I am sure is making up for lost time. We don't know the age of the other children when they were abducted and what, if anything, they may have been told about their father and therefore, may still be sorting out what is truth from fiction. Perhaps now that this son has returned he can tell the other children what life is like and they will want to come back. I know my son was much younger than my daughter when we separated and therefore he was vulnerable to the venom and lies he was exposed to by my ex's family (which, knowing them for many years I know they are capable of as well as my daughter telling me what would happen when they went to their father's). It was only when he got older and saw firsthand on a daily basis what was going on that he realized the truth and I realized that what happened had to happen. Let's not make assumptions about this case. We should all just be happy that he was alive, not tortured or neglected and has come back to his father. The public will probably not know the reason for the abduction and, perhaps, neither will the father.

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Owen February 06 2014 at 7:20 AM


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yuhossmpc February 06 2014 at 1:28 PM

Sorry, but I think that since the other siblings are over 18, it should be their choice wether they want to go back to the U.S. or not. They have a mind of their own, after 18 years, I'm sure they can think for themselves. God Bless Them either way....

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ExplorerFl February 06 2014 at 7:17 AM

Bet if it was the dad who ran off to Mexico, they would have had him in chains long ago.

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Penny February 06 2014 at 1:26 PM

Are the other two children, "of age" also? If so, if they want to return to see their dad, fine, if not fine. Why does he have to tell where they are if they are all of age now?

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hey February 06 2014 at 10:34 AM

since I don't know all the facts of this case I would have to side with the father, unless he was a real threat no one should decide to take children away from one or the other parent, I hope the other children follow his lead

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kaplsh February 06 2014 at 8:27 AM

Beautiful story! The Dad must be so happy!!

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ptolomeyr February 06 2014 at 8:29 AM

fab ending thrilled

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Laura February 06 2014 at 8:30 AM

The mother should be brought back to the US and be prosecuted just like any other kidnapper would be. Yes, they were her children too, but she selfishly deprived their father the chance to have a relationship with his own children. The children suffer without a father and the father never got the chance to be there when his kids were growing up. Not only did she break the law but she emotionally hurt her children and their father. They can never get back the lost years where he was deprived of being their father. So selfish of her.

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4 replies
Shelly February 06 2014 at 8:31 AM

What is scary, is that you can never give up if a child goes misssing.....

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