Steve Hernandez wipes a tear from his mother's eye after seeing her for the first time in 20 years in San Diego, Calif., on June 9, 2016.
Christopher Lee—San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office/AP
June 10, 2016 2:34 PM EDT

In 1995, Maria Mancia came home from work to find her 18-month-old son, Steve, missing.

She soon made an unsettling discovery: The boy’s father, Valentin Hernandez, had kidnapped him and ransacked her California home. Documents and heirlooms, including Steve’s baby pictures and even an ultrasound photo, were gone.

For 21 years, Mancia wondered what happened to her boy: What was he doing? What did he look like? Would he remember me?

On Thursday, she got her answer.

Mancia and her now-22-year-old son were reunited by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office after a painstaking search for the boy that led them…

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