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Alex Batty found in France six years after going missing

Alex Batty found in France six years after going missing Photo: Alex Batty found in France six years after going missing (GettyImages)

Alex Batty, a British boy missing since 2017, was found in Haute-Garonne, France, after being taken on holiday to Spain by his mother and grandfather, who lacked legal custody. Now 17, Batty's discovery ends a six-year search and brings relief to his family and authorities, according to CNN.

Batty was found by a French driver, Fabien Accidini, who spotted him walking on the side of the road at 3 a.m. local time. Carrying a skateboard, a jacket, a backpack, and a flashlight, Batty told Accidini that he had been walking for four days after leaving the mountains.

He had been in Spain for three years and France for two following his abduction by his mother. A message sent by Batty to his grandmother via Accidini's Facebook account confirmed his identity and desire to return to England.

"He was relieved to leave, to return to England, to see his grandmother again because he didn't want to live his whole life in that community. He wanted to have a real life with a real future," Accidini said.

Alex Batty found in France six years after going missingAlex Batty (Photo: CNN)

His grandmother, Susan Caruana, his legal guardian, expressed her happiness and relief upon hearing from him.

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

Greater Manchester Police in the UK are coordinating with French authorities to confirm the sighting and arrange Batty's return while ensuring appropriate safeguarding measures are in place.

Missing child found

The case began when Alex Batty, then 11 years old, went missing after a holiday in Spain with his mother and grandfather in 2017. His mother did not have legal parental guardianship at the time.

The police released an appeal in February 2019, but his whereabouts remained unknown for years. The discovery in France brings closure to a prolonged and complex investigation by the Greater Manchester Police, who have been involved since Batty's initial disappearance.

The case highlights the challenges and importance of international cooperation in investigating missing persons.