Alex Batty, a British teen who went missing six years ago while on holiday, was found in France earlier this week. As per news agency Agence France-Presses (AFP), police on Saturday informed that Alex has safely arrived back in the UK.
The report stated that Alex Batty was just 11 when he went missing on a vacation in 2017. Six years later, Alex was found by a delivery driver in a mountainous area of southern France, this week. This is after Alex had walked for four days.
Announcing Alex’s arrival, Matt Boyle of Greater Manchester Police told reporters, “It gives me great pleasure to say Alex has now made his safe return to the UK after six years.”
The 17-year-old has now returned to his maternal grandmother Susan Caruana, with whom the British justice system had reportedly entrusted his custody before his mother, Melanie Batty, abducted him. As per Toulouse assistant prosecutor Antoine Leroy, Alex had decided to escape when Melani shared that she was going to Finland, which is where they believe she could be found presently.
Alex told investigators in France that before moving to the French Pyrenees, they had spent time in Morocco. The report added that for the past six years Alex has been living a “nomadic” life in a “spiritual community”. In conversation with the investigators, the teenager revealed that he never stayed in the same place for more than several months.
Upon escaping from his mother’s custody, Alex told investigators that he moved around at night to prevent being spotted, finding food from “gardens and fields”.
The student Fabien Accidini, who found Alex, told AFP that Alex looked like “he clearly needed help” and could not speak French.
Accidini, who works as a delivery driver, added that he picked Alex up “between two villages in the pouring rain in the small hours of Thursday morning”. Adding that Alex looked “a bit suspicious at first” and gave a false name, Accidini said that he soon began to help with local deliveries and opened up. “When he told me he’d been abducted, I made him say it again — it was crazy!” said Accidini.
Next Accidini helped Alex contact his grandmother over Facebook and waited for the officers to arrive. Meanwhile, Accidini also found Alex’s missing person reports on the internet. “I typed in his first and last name and saw his photo, which was the same as his face today at 17,” he said.
Accidini added that Alex expressed his desire to go back to school and study to become an engineer.
About reuniting with her grandson, Ms Caruana said in a statement released by Greater Manchester Police, “I can’t wait to see him when we’re reunited. The main thing is that he’s safe, after what would be an overwhelming experience for anyone, not least a child.”