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A man claiming to be a child who went missing 25 years ago from a mall parking lot has given his DNA to police to be tested.
Authorities confirmed they swabbed the DNA of a man claiming to be D’Wan Sims, who vanished from Wonderland Mall in Livonia, Michigan in 1994.
Police said the man, who they haven’t identified, came forward earlier this month. On Dec. 11 — the 25th anniversary of Sims’ disappearance — police submitted his DNA to be tested, a spokesperson for Livonia Police said.
“We’re just waiting for the results,” captain Ronald Taig told Oxygen.com.
Police were unable to confirm the name of the individual on Monday, December 16, but Taig said it could be up to three months before they learn if the individual is in fact Sims. Taig, who was with the Livonia Police Department at the time of Sims’ original disappearance 25 years ago, said the case is still fresh in his mind.
“We had so many people put a ton of time into this, work hard on it,” Taig added. “You have a major case like this, you want to get it solved. It would mean everything to me, it would mean everything to our organization, and it’s just one of those big things you’d like to have closure in. It’s tragic.”
Dwanna Sims, the missing boy’s mother, reported her son missing to Livonia Police on Dec. 11, 1994. She told detectives her son vanished while the mother and son were shopping at a mall. However, after subsequent investigation, police said surveillance footage showed the woman had been at the mall but that there had been no sign of D’Wan.
“She came down and she claimed that he was missing from our mall,” Taig explained. “All the investigations that we completed pointed to that D’Wan was never at Wonderland Mall.”
Taig said the child’s mother, who has consistently maintained her innocence in D’Wan’s disappearance, has never been arrested. He said she’s aware of the potential developments in her son’s case and cooperating with detectives.
“She wanted to make it clear that she would be willing to help in any way and she’s answered our phone calls and she’s talked to our detectives,” the police spokesperson added.
However, the woman, who now goes by Dwanna Wiggins and has since moved to Durham, North Carolina, is doubtful the mystery man is her long lost son.
“I have no clue, whatsoever,” she told the Associated Press last week. “You would like to be hopeful.”
The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children still lists Sims as missing.
“Like everyone else, we’re very anxious to find out if this is in fact him or not,” Robert Lowery Jr., the organization's vice president for the missing children division, told Oxygen.com. “There’s some reason why this gentleman believes he is D’Wan Sims.”
Lowery said there about 3,000-4,000 long term missing child cases that are still open. He said it’s not unheard of to be contacted by individuals who believe they could be one of those missing kids.
“We get people from time to time that do call us believing they are missing children,” he explained. “Some of them may have been given up for adoption at birth, others may believe that they had other birth parents other than the ones they’ve come to know.”
Regardless, Lowery said he thinks it’s important to investigate the man’s claims.
“We want to keep an open mind, we want to follow the facts, and see where they lead us,” he said. “With today’s technology, it’s not going to take long to determine whether this is really D’Wan or it’s not. We certainly hope it is because it would give this family a lot of answers they’ve been seeking. And certainly we’d like to know where he’s been all these years.”
Authorities are asking anyone with information related to D’Wan’s disappearance to contact Livonia Police Department investigators at 734-421-2900.
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