A 17-year-old teen from Oldham has been located in France. He had been reported missing in 2017 after traveling to Spain with his family for the holidays.
At the time, detectives believed that he was abducted by his mother to live overseas.
After more than six years, Alex Batty was found in France by a motorist who saw him walking near Toulouse. His mother and grandfather, whom he had been traveling with before his disappearance, do not have parental guardianship of the boy and have not been located by authorities.
According to a police source, the teen had been taken to a nearby police station by the motorist, who saw him trotting along in the rain on Wednesday morning.
The motorist, Fabien Accidini, who works as a delivery driver, said the boy told him he’d been traveling on foot for four days, and that he had taken off from the mountains, though he didn’t specify a specific location.
Alex allegedly planned on traveling to a big city – one with an embassy, which would be able to help him. In the end, Accidini notified the French authorities for help.
Alex was also able to use Accidini’s Facebook account to make contact with his grandmother, who resided back in the UK. He told her he was Alex that he was currently in Trance Toulouse and that he wanted to come home.
The police source said the teen had been in France for more than two years. He also bore a resemblance to the last known photo, which had been shared on social media at the time of his disappearance.
He had been staying in the Pyrenean valleys, a remote area far from the city, and had been traveling from region to region in what they described as an ‘itinerant commune.’ The same area is also known for attracting individuals looking to seek out alternative lifestyles.
The prosecutor’s office told media outlets that Alex won’t disclose where his mother is or where they have been staying. However, he is now in touch with his grandmother, who is also his legal guardian. In an interview, she said she’s ‘so happy’ and that ‘it’s such a shock’ to receive a message from him.
His grandmother, Susan Caruana, told media outlets back in 2018 that believed his mother and grandfather took the boy to Morocco, to live with a spiritual community. She said at the time, his mother did not want him to go to school and had wanted him to follow an alternative lifestyle.
His mother, grandfather, and the boy, eventually left for a week-long holiday to Spain on Sept 30, 2017. He was last seen that year at the Port of Malaga.