A quarter-century ago, Dwanna Wiggins implored police and the public to help locate her four-year-old who she said disappeared at a Detroit-area mall just before Christmas.
Ms Wiggins, whose last name was Harris at the time, said Friday (local time) that she has had communications with a man who claims to be D’Wan Sims, but she has doubts and no idea if he really is her son.
“I have no clue, whatsoever,” she told The Associated Press Friday from her home in Durham, in the US state of North Carolina.
“You would like to be hopeful,” she added.
The man, who calls himself Mike Cash, told police in the suburb of Livonia that he believes he is D’Wan, WDIV-TV reported.
Ms Wiggins told police on December 11, 1994, that D’Wan disappeared while they were shopping.
Surveillance video showed the mother inside Wonderland Mall, but there were no images of D’Wan.
“I was here at the department and we looked at all of the video, we checked everything, and we never saw D’Wan,” Livonia police Captain Ron Taig told the television station.
Sergeant Shelley Holloway told the Detroit Free Press in 2009 that investigators were “pretty confident D'Wan never made it to Wonderland Mall”.
The man has given police a sample of his DNA but police have not released any information about where he says he has been for the past 25 years or why he has finally come forward.
“I guess what’s odd is that he claimed that he didn’t want any of this information out in the media and from what I understand he has put this out on social media,” Mr Taig said.
Someone tagged Ms Wiggins in Facebook posts this month in which the man says he believes he is D’Wan.
“I reached out to him (on Facebook) once the story went viral on Facebook. I was trying to be compassionate to him and his story. This is still an investigation. It’s not a joke,” Ms Wiggins told The AP.
But Ms Wiggins said she is wary and has been the target of “constant ridiculing” due to the circumstances of D’Wan’s disappearance.
“With every other thing that has happened ... it’s been negative about me,” she said.
D’Wan now would be 29 and is still listed as missing on the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children website.
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