A 13-year-old boy was found behind a false wall in a house in Georgia and reunited with his mother on Saturday, four years after he was reported missing.
The teenager was recently able to send a text to his mother to tell her the location of the house he was being held at, 17 miles south of the city of Atlanta.
Clayton County police first went to the house on Friday to search for the boy but were told by the occupants that they had no information of his whereabouts.
Hours later police returned to the property, where they were directed to the boy’s location by his mother, who had spoken to her son on the phone.
Sergeant Kevin Hughes said of the police’s rescue operation: “They found him hidden behind a false wall in the interior portion of the home.”
He added that the boy appeared to be in good physical health and was now with his mother, who had travelled from outside the state.
The five people who live in the house have been taken into custody, including the child’s father, Gregory Jean, 37, and an adult female, according to local police.
The father and Samantha Joy Davis face charges of false imprisonment, cruelty to children and obstructing an officer. Three other children at the property also face obstruction charges.
Police said that the boy, who has not been named, had only been reported missing to child welfare, and no missing person’s report had been filed to the police.
Neighbours in the quiet residential area said that the family had moved into the house about six months ago and kept themselves to themselves.
The boy always seemed to stay at home and did not appear to be enrolled in school, they said.
Additional Reporting Reuters