Missing Minnesotans: 30 years after his disappearance, Aaron Anderson's family believes he is alive

April 08, 2019 06:00 AM

30 years ago, a little boy disappeared near Pine City, Minnesota.  22-month-old Aaron Anderson was last seen playing in the yard of his rural home on April 7, 1989. Three decades later his family believes this young missing Minnesotan is still alive and may not know about his past.

After 30 years of searching, Paulette Anderson is turning to DNA to find her missing son Aaron.

"I feel like God is telling me to get on Ancestry.com and you'll find Aaron. I've never felt like he was dead, ever," she said.

Paulette just signed up for Ancestry.com hoping that Aaron, who would now be 31, has also registered.

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"And I am just trusting that he got on it and we find him. I mean they match you up with the DNA," Paulette said.

"I think it's a great idea," said Aaron's sister Abriana. "Just knowing how technology has advanced and the fact the DNA can match and bring together families that had no idea they even had members."  

On April 7, 1989, the 22-month-old was playing outside his family's rural home. The yard backed up to the lower Snake River. That's the last time he was seen.

Paulette believes Aaron was abducted.

"I just had this feeling inside," she said. "And I said he didn't get in, he didn't go to the river."

After the little boy disappeared there was an intensive search of the lower Snake River using boats, divers and planes. It went on for days but turned up nothing. 

Aaron's father tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that a Chisago County sheriff's deputy with a bloodhound arrived the night his son disappeared.  According to Steve Anderson, the dog never went toward the water. They tracked Aaron out to a road in front of the house but the scent stopped. They believe he may have gotten into a car but they have no proof of that.

"They had divers on a rope and they went down the whole river and were pulling up boots and everything you can imagine off the bottom of the river," said Paulette. "But nothing from Aaron, they said something would have shown up."

"I believe that we don't know where Aaron is and we need to know," said Teresa Lhotka, Executive Director of Missing Children Minnesota. She has worked with the Anderson family for years. "I have seen absolutely zero evidence that Aaron is not alive," said Lhotka. "I believe somebody knows something about what happened to Aaron."

According to Lhotka, the passing of time could help find Aaron. "Relationships change over time; somebody who you were loyal to at one point, that loyalty may no longer exist. And so maybe they would be willing to come forward and give this family some information and relief and closure and help them find their loved one." 

Aaron's siblings feel strongly that he is alive and has no idea they are searching for him.

"I believe that somebody out there knows something," said his brother Nathanael. "It would be amazing just to have a member of our family come back to us. We would accept him with open arms."

"It's a selfless act to come forward and to help out our family," said Abriana. "My mom especially to bring her closure. It's something she's been carrying with her the last 30 years."

Nathanael has a message for his big brother: "We love you!  We want you to come home. And we're excited for the day our family is reunited."

Until then, Aaron's mother will stay close to the computer monitoring Ancestry.com.

"I'm thinking this could be it," said Paulette. "This might be the answer to our prayers of finding Aaron."

The Anderson family has also shared DNA with law enforcement hoping there will be a match with Aaron.

The Pine County Sheriff's Office considers Aaron's disappearance an open case. They encourage anyone who knows anything to come forward. The sheriff's office non-emergency Line is (320) 629-8380. The tip-line is (320) 629-3342.

Anyone with information about Aaron Anderson can call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Callers can remain anonymous.

The Anderson family can be reached through Missing Children Minnesota at (612) 334-9449.

It's important to note that siblings are also impacted when a child goes missing. Most people think about the parents, but siblings also deal with the effects. The Jacob Wetterling Resource Center encourages others to read the U.S. Department of Justice Sibling Survival Guide.

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Kevin Doran

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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