Through collaboration between Canadian and American law enforcement agencies, a Greater Toronto Area mother and her son have been reunited after 31 years.
In 1987, Allan Mann Jr. abducted his then 21-month-old son Jermaine after he had been dropped off by his mother – Lyneth Mann-Lewis – for a court-ordered weekend visit.
Mann took his son to the United States, residing in the Bronx and North Carolina before settling in Connecticut about two decades ago.
Recent investigative work by the Toronto Police Fugitive Squad, the United States Marshals Service and the Missing Children Society of Canada led marshals to identify the father and son living in the United States.
On August 24, the U.S Marshals reached out to the Fugitive Squad with a possible hit identifying Allan. Facial recognition used to compare photos from 1987 and a current picture resulted in a positive identification.
At a news conference at police headquarters on October 29, Chief Mark Saunders said the Mann case was discussed with American law enforcement officials at the 2016 Toronto Police Fugitive Squad conference in Toronto.
“Through trans-border co-operation, including the use of technology, U.S Marshals positively identified Allan Mann and his son,” he noted.
Saunders said Mann will face an abduction charge when he’s extradited to Canada.
The Chief also used the opportunity to praise the level of co-operation between Canadian and American law enforcement authorities.
“When we look at policing in today’s environment, the importance of working with other agencies and having the ability of crossing borders really does lead to the keys to success,” Saunders said. “This is a classic example of just that.”
Mann, who was living under an assumed name and is now 66, was arrested on October 26 at his Vernon home. He faces charges in the United States and extradition to Canada on criminal charges.
I have endured many hard days, some which are extremely difficult to describe. Today, with utmost happiness, I am here to share with you the end of a journey
The now 33-year-old son, who discovered hours earlier that authorities believed his father abducted him, was reunited with his mom who he was told had died when he was young.
“It has been a long and hard journey since my son was abducted,” Mann-Lewis said at the Toronto news conference. “I have endured many hard days, some which are extremely difficult to describe. Today, with utmost happiness, I am here to share with you the end of a journey. The constant worrying is finally over.”
Mann-Lewis said the inspiration she received over the years from many people encouraged her to maintain hope and belief that she would eventually be able to be reunited with her son.
“I am at a loss for words when it comes to describing how much I am thankful to the Canadian and United States agencies involved in making this happen and solving a crime that was committed,” she said.
Amanda Pick, the chief executive officer of the Missing Children Society of Canada (MCSC), said Mann-Lewis reached out to her organization two days after her son was abducted, asking for help.
On October 23, Pick and retired Calgary police officer Ted Davis, who spent 23 years with the MCSC, informed Mann-Lewis that her son was found. They also accompanied her to the United States to see him.
“For 31 years, we stood with her and we stood beside police in the search and hope of finding Jermaine and bringing him home,” she said.
Pick said Mann-Lewis was an inspiration to those who dedicated their time to finding her son.
“When you talk about hope, there is no better example of a family who has a missing child,” she added. “…Hope is what drives all of the police services and individuals who search relentlessly and hope drives our organization as well.”