Julian Hernandez
Julian Hernandez had been found, 13 years after he went missingPolice handout

A child who disappeared 13 years ago in Alabama has been found safe and unharmed in Cleveland, Ohio. Julian Hernandez was five years old when his mother reported him missing in August 2002.

His father, 53-year-old Bobby Hernandez, has been arrested in Ohio on charges of abduction. Officers revealed they had always suspected that the father had played a role in the child's abduction.

Bobby Hernandez was supposed to drop Julian off at nursery on the day the boy went missing, but failed to do so. The pair disappeared and investigators suspected the father and son were using false identities, but were never able to locate them.

The father's subterfuge fell apart when Julian was trying to apply for college, and his Social Security number didn't match his name. School officials found that he was registered as missing on the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children database.

Vicki Anderson, an FBI special agent in Ohio, said they received information on 30 October that a local teenager may be a missing child. Julian, who is now 18, was positively identified. Vestavia Hills Police Lt Johnny Evans told WVTM-TV: "I've been doing this 25 years and it's something I've never experienced before. That's the reason you never give up and you keep looking."

The father made his first appearance at Cuyahoga County Court on Wednesday, and his bond was set at $250,000 (£164,000). Hernandez is also charged with tampering with records in Ohio to get a driver's licence. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 12 November Sky News reports.

Julian's mother and his family have been informed of his recovery. Police said they were ecstatic to learn he had been found.