Joy over reunion with son abducted 31 years ago

Erika Holt
November 1, 2018

A 66-year-old CT man kidnapped his infant son from Canada more than 31 years ago and raised him in America using fake names, federal prosecutors said.

However, authorities say he was actually abducted on June 24, 1987, during a scheduled visit with his father in Toronto.

Jermaine Allan Mann, now 33, had been told that his mother had died when he was a baby.

The following day, Mann-Lewis, who said she never stopped believing that her son would be found, was flown down to CT for an emotional reunion.

DeSouza, 66, appeared briefly before U.S. Magistrate Robert R. Richardson Friday on charges of making false statements and making false statements in applications to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Mann is facing multiple criminal charges in the US, but will be extradited to Canada to face one count of abduction. "He said he was originally from SC that his wife left with their son, after removing all the money from the Bank account", - told one of the neighbors.

Asked if there was anything she would like to say to him, Mann-Lewis said she would keep most of her thoughts to herself. "Be patient, be strong, and believe that all things are possible".

On Friday morning, Mann-Lewis was about to board a flight to visit her long-lost son, but the flight was cancelled and she had to arrange another flight.

Her ex-husband, Allan Mann Jr., who changed his name to Hailee DeSouza, was under arrest in connection with the abduction. "Finally he said, 'Mom I love you, ' and I said, 'I love you too son, '" she recounted. Jermaine's case had been the fixation of Ted Davis, an investigator at Missing Children Society of Canada. "Cook the chicken, I'm going to eat the chicken!'" Mann-Lewis said.

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Police say his father first took him to New York City, before moving to the town of Vernon, Connecticut, where he raised his son under an assumed name.

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.

The investigation has involved multiple USA agencies as well as Toronto police and the RCMP.

And in 2018, the forensic specialist has compared an old photo of Allan with a photo of the driver's license, issued to one Haile the DeSouza in CT, and suspected that one and the same person. "You never take a child from his mother without giving them a chance to make their own decisions".

The Hartford Courant reported that the son sobbed quietly in the front row with his head in his hands and left the courthouse without commenting.

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.

"I am the proof that after 31 long years of suffering one should never give up".

"We are at the end of a long struggle and now it is time to move forward and that will be a new struggle".

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