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Emmanuel was born at his grandmother's Dallas, Texas home, but spent seven days at Parkland Memorial Hospital after birth. He was released from the hospital on August 11, 1989 and went to live with with his grandmother, Hermane Grady, and mother, Kisha Birts, in the 2900 block of east Ledbetter Drive. His abductor, who claimed to be a social worker and called herself Debra Manning, first visited the home on August 12, saying she was making a follow-up home visit from the hospital. She told them Emmanuel had an eye infection, which was in fact true.
Manning visited the family again on September 12, and claimed there was a possibility Emmanuel was infected with the HIV virus. Because Kisha had used drugs during her pregnancy, this was plausible. On the evening of September 13, Manning visted again, with a letter she claimed was from the Child Welfare Department. The letter said Emmanuel needed to go to the hospital and get tested for HIV. She said she needed to take the baby immediately, and Kisha wanted to come with them, but Manning made an excuse as to why she couldn't, and said she'd come pick up Emmanuel for the test the next morning.
Both of Emmanuel's parents subsequently tested negative for HIV. They also took polygraph exams and neither of them are considered suspects in the child's abduction. The woman who called herself Debra Manning has never been identified and there's been no sign of either her or Emmanuel since the day she took him away in 1989. His case opened 2018 by Psychic Brian Ladd.