INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- For a free man with another chance at parole, Monday featured an emotional reunion for an Indiana man who has been fighting to clear his name for over 20 years.
FOX59`s Angela Ganote has been following the story of Vernon Bateman for three years. She was there when he walked free and saw a heartfelt moment for Bateman -- a convicted rapist -- and his mother, who wants nothing more than to spend time with her only son.
"I have a lot of family support behind me. A lot of people want to know the truth," said Bateman.
Bateman was paroled on December 16 but just released from prison Monday morning. He was taken to meet his parole officer and learned of all of his stipulations. As a convicted sex offender, there are many.
"It is overwhelming, but I feel like I am closer to getting my freedom, closer to getting justice," Bateman said.
Bateman maintains his innocence and has from the day he was arrested and accused of rape back in 1998 at the age of 17.
Now 40 years old, the Innocence Project picked up his case after learning the rape kit taken from the victim in his case was never tested.
Additionally, a second suspect in the rape now says he lied and Bateman is innocent.
"I made a false statement and got a man convicted of a crime I know he didn't do," said Sa’Ron Foley.
Will Foley's statements make a difference?
Will Bateman and his attorneys at the Innocence Project be able to find the now lost rape kit?
They believe the kit holds truth to what happened more than 20 years ago.
"I want to clear my name. That is my mission," said Bateman.
While he waits, Bateman plans to spend a lot of time with his family.