In 2002, five-year-old Julian Hernandez was reported missing from his home in Alabama by his mom.
The belief was that his father had taken him to Florida – but neither of them could be traced.
His mother thought she’d lost her son for good and Julian grew up unaware that she existed and with a different name.
But when Julian applied to college this remarkable and heart-breaking story started to unravel.
Julian’s father, Bobby Hernandez, was supposed to drop him off at school one morning. But instead, he took all cash out of his account and some of his son’s clothes and toys and left, ABC News reports.
After that, Julian was taken to Cleveland, Ohio, where his dad started a new life under the false name of Jonathan Mangina. Neighbors knew his son as Jay Jay, Newsnet 5 reported.
But when the time came to start filling in applications for college, this dark secret was revealed.
When Julian applied to college in 2015 he and his guidance counselor looked into why several universities couldn’t verify his social security number.
His applications to college were being sent back because Julian’s name didn’t match his social security number.