Mother reunited with son 31 years after allegedly abducted by his father


Lyneth Mann-Lewis couldn't sleep last Friday.

A Toronto-based woman was recently reunited with son almost 31 years after he was abducted in 1987.

"I grabbed him and squeezed his head to see that he was real".

CT U.S. Attorney John Durham says the suspect is alleged to have "lived a lie for the last 31 years".

The details of their emotional reunion in CT were shared Monday at a press conference in Toronto.

Now 33, Jermaine Mann met his mother Lyneth Mann-Lewis for the first time last week while his father was taken into U.S. custody.

"The words, 'Your son is alive".

USA officials said Mann Jr. has dual Canadian and Ghanaian citizenship, and was found living under the name Hailee DeSouza in subsidized housing in Vernon, about 20 kilometres east of Hartford.

After running off with his then 21-month-old son on June 24, 1987, following a visitation in Toronto, Mann Jr. entered the US and obtained fake identification for himself and his son, including bogus Texas birth certificates, officials alleged. When Mr. Mann was found and arrested last week, he and his son were living in CT under different names.

Banks said Mann now facing multiple criminal charges south of the border, but will be extradited to Canada to face one count of abduction in his son's disappearance.

He is facing charges of making false statements in the US.

Last weekend, they spent time cooking together.

After dinner, a friend of her son's came over and visited and then he took her back to the hotel.

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Mann-Lewis was asked by reporters if she had anything to say to her former husband. Every time he did, he'd return to say goodbye again. "I touched him and said "oh my God my baby". They parted ways with a promise to talk the next morning and he told his mother he loved her.

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said that his agency had held a conference on fugitive training in 2016 and said this very case was discussed with USA law enforcement officials.

Amanda Pick, the CEO of the Missing Children Society of Canada, called Lyneth Mann-Lewis "a tower of strength and perseverance".

The investigation has involved multiple US agencies including HUD, the US Marshals Service, Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration, as well as Toronto police and Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

An arrest warrant affidavit details USA marshals interviewing several of Mr. Mann's relatives and friends in August, with one tipping them off to his new identity.

None of the allegations against Mr Mann have been tested in court. Mr. Mann was located in HUD-subsidized housing in Vernon, about 19 kilometres east of Hartford, federal officials said.

"The name that was given to him he had no choice in", she said.

The trail eventually went cold, though Jermaine's story and age-enhanced photographs were frequently circulated across missing children networks, and investigators on both sides of the border never gave up on the case. Speaking to The Globe and Mail in 2003, she said she'd held onto Jermaine's possessions. "Never take a child from a parent", she said. At first she declined before saying "I thought it was so sad to do what he did".

Banks did not offer particulars of the American investigation, but said it led to the arrest of Allan Mann Jr. on Friday.

Jermaine was seen weeping as his dad appeared in a local federal court - just hours after learning the truth about his mother, the Courant reported.

Wanting to cook for her son, Mann-Lewis went to a supermarket and purchased enough chicken and vegetables for a feast - only to learn that her son prefers not to eat meat. Waiting at the airport to see her son for the first time since he was a toddler, she was racked with worries. We did, I'm going to guess, 3,000 to 4,000 interviews. "This is the end of the long struggle of not knowing where he is but it (going forward) will be a hard life for now".

"I want to encourage other families with missing children and loved ones not to ever, ever give up in finding them".