British boy missing for six years found in France

Originally Published: 14 DEC 23 17:31 ET

(CNN) — A British boy whose location has been unknown for six years was found on Wednesday morning in a region of southwest France, a spokesperson for regional authorities told CNN on Thursday.

Alex Batty has not been seen since he was 11 years old, after being taken on holiday in Spain in 2017 with his mother, “who did not have legal parental guardianship,” and his grandad, according to a police appeal released in February 2019.

Batty was found in Haute-Garonne, near the city of Toulouse, according to the spokesperson.

CNN’s affiliate BFMTV reported that the family has confirmed the teenager’s identity and that he is due to return to England shortly, according to the Toulouse public prosecutor’s office.

His grandmother, Susan Caruana, his legal guardian, told the UK’s The Sun newspaper that she had spoken to Alex.

“I am so happy. I have spoken to him and he is well,” Caruana said, adding: “He is currently with the authorities in France. It is such a shock.”

Greater Manchester Police in the United Kingdom said in a statement Thursday that they have been contacted regarding “a possible sighting in France of Alex Batty, who went missing in 2017.”

Officers in the English town of Oldham are in contact with French authorities to establish the “authenticity of the report,” the police added.

A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police said: “This is a complex and long-running investigation, and we need to make further enquiries as well as putting appropriate safeguarding measures in place.”

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