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British boy who’s been missing for six years found alive in France

British boy who’s been missing for six years found alive in France

He was just 11 when he went missing in Spain in October 2017

A British boy who went missing six years ago has been found alive in France.

Alex Batty, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, was just 11 when he went missing in Spain in October 2017.

At the time, he had been on holiday in Marbella, Spain, with mother Melanie, then 37, and grandfather David Batty, who was 58.

The pair had been prohibited from being with Alex because of domestic difficulties, and were due to return after two weeks but never came back.

Susan Caruana, his grandmother and legal guardian, previously said she thought the group may have settled into 'an alternative lifestyle' somewhere.

French prosecutors now believe that a boy who turned up alone in Revel, near Toulouse, is Alex.

Alex Batty.

Newspaper La Depeche reports: "Although he did not show any official document to the gendarmes who took him in, this young 17-year-old boy provided his identity on his own.

"His face and his story correspond in every way to that of the Briton kidnapped in 2017.

"This Thursday the Toulouse public prosecutor confirmed that it is indeed Alex Batty."

According to the French news outlet, investigators suspected that the youngster may have escaped a community living in a rural area in the foothills of the Pyrenees, with early enquiries suggesting he was part of a 'spiritual community'.

Alex was picked up by a lorry driver, who grew suspicious about the situation and alerted police.

La Depeche said Alex 'recounted his incredible journey, serenely and calmly' to detectives, adding: "His story has been verified and appears to correspond to reality.

"Following this hearing, the teenager was entrusted to the department's social services, while waiting for his relatives to come forward."

Alex's mum Melanie.

In 2019, two years after Alex disappeared, Greater Manchester Police's DC Declan O'Reilly called on the public to come forward with any information as the boy's family celebrated another of his birthdays without him.

"Despite being over two years since Alex was last seen, I would urge people to keep him in their mind as his grandmother, family and friends here in Oldham have celebrated another one of his birthdays without him," O'Reilly said.

"The safest place for Alex is back home with his grandmother and we need the public’s help to find and return him to her.

"She is absolutely desperate for his safe return and when I spoke with her recently she said if there is one thing she could say to Alex it would be for him to please get in touch as his disappearance has left her broken.

"Anyone who has any information, no matter how big or small you think it may be, please come forward so that we can try to reunite a missing boy with his devastated grandmother."

Featured Image Credit: GMP/PA

Topics: News, UK News