(CLEVELAND) — An Ohio father has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping his son 13 years ago in Alabama.
Bobby Hernandez, who was arrested in November, appeared in an Ohio court Tuesday, where he entered a plea of not guilty to all 32 counts against him. Hernandez is facing several counts of kidnapping, interfering with custody, tampering with records and forging identification cards, according to Cuyahoga County court records, in connection with the alleged kidnapping of his son, Julian.
Julian, now 18, was reported missing by his mother in Alabama in August 2002, according to police. He was 5 years old at the time.
As an Ohio teenager, Julian couldn’t validate his Social Security number when he was applying to college, and he and his guidance counselor found him in a database for missing children. Hernandez was taken into custody in November.
Hernandez appeared Tuesday handcuffed and shackled, wearing an orange prison jumpsuit. He did not speak.
His first pre-trial hearing was set for Dec. 10.
“He’s been a perfect father,” Hernandez’s lawyer, Ralph DeFranco, told reporters after court Tuesday. “His son is a senior in high school, he’s athletic, he’s an athlete, a straight A-student, planning to go to college. He’s been everything a father can be.”
Last month Julian Hernandez pleaded for privacy.
“I have goals that I am striving to meet, so please, again, respect my request for privacy,” Julian said in a statement provided by the FBI in Cleveland, Ohio.
“I just want to be left alone,” said Julian.
After Julian’s identity was revealed, a representative for Julian’s mother said the family was “overjoyed” to “learn that he is safe.”
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