CLEVELAND-– A man accused of taking his then-5-year-old son from an Alabama home in 2002 and creating a life for them in Cleveland under new identities was sentenced on Wednesday.
Bobby Hernandez pleaded guilty last month to several charges, including kidnapping, in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. He was sentenced to four years in prison.
Hernandez’s son spoke at the sentencing hearing.
“Growing up without my mother was tough, but taking my father from me now is doing the same thing,” the teen told the judge. “I don’t know what to say except don’t send my father to jail.”
Hernandez has not been able to talk by phone or visit with his son for the past few months. A no contact order was issued a few weeks after his arrest.
He has been in jail since November on a $250,000 bond.
The 53-year-old Hernandez was arrested in November after his son was applying for colleges and a guidance counselor learned his son was on the national registry of missing children.
His attorney said Hernandez resides with his fiancée, her three children of her own and a 3-year-old daughter. He was employed full-time at Traveler Custom Case Manufacturing before his arrest.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty said Hernandez was abusive and lied to the boy’s mother as she spent years searching for her missing son.