WORLD NEWS

British boy returns home to UK after disappearing for six years

Dec 17, 2023, 12:08 PM | Updated: 12:39 pm

Alex Batty, pictured before he went missing, landed safely in London on December 16 evening. (Great...

Alex Batty, pictured before he went missing, landed safely in London on December 16 evening. (Greater Manchester Police)

(Greater Manchester Police)

London (CNN)A British boy who was found in France after going missing for six years has landed safely back in the UK, according to local police.

Alex Batty never returned from holiday in Spain with his mother Melanie Batty and his grandfather in 2017. Now aged 17, he was found near the city of Toulouse in the French department of Haute-Garonne on Wednesday morning, a spokesperson for regional authorities told CNN.

“It gives me great pleasure to say Alex has now made his safe return back to the UK after six years,” Assistant Chief Constable Matt Boyle, of Greater Manchester Police, told reporters on Saturday, according to the UK’s national news agency, Press Association.

The teenager met with a family member and UK police officers in the Toulouse airport before beginning his much-belated flight home, Boyle also said.

Batty is expected to be reunited with his grandmother Susan Caruana, who lives in Oldham, Greater Manchester, and is the boy’s legal guardian, PA reported.

In a statement issued through police, Caruana said she “can’t wait” to see her grandson.

“I cannot begin to express my relief and happiness that Alex has been found safe and well,” she said, adding that her family request privacy as they welcome him back.

It is understood that Alex’s grandfather died around six months ago, and that the boy’s mother – who does not have legal parental guardianship – may currently be in Finland, Reuters news agency reported citing Toulouse’s deputy prosecutor Antoine Leroy.

Found by a French motorist

The teenager was recovered this week from the side of the road by a French motorist, Fabien Accidini, who claimed the boy had been living in a “spiritual community” in the country for the last two years.

Accidini, a chiropractic student, had been delivering medicines to pharmacies overnight when he first came across Batty. After initially giving him a false name, Batty spoke to Accidini for three hours in English and French.

“He told me he was kidnapped by his mother five years ago in Morocco. After that he was in Spain. And that he had been living France for the past two years in a spiritual community,” Accidini told CNN affiliate BFMTV.

Accidini said the boy described his mother as “a bit crazy.”

Speaking to the BBC, a local from Quillan – the town where Alex was found – described how the area was home to a community of international nomads who have shunned a “normal life.”

“A lot of people here think they’re wrongdoers, high on drugs, but you find drugs everywhere. They just want an alternative life,” she told the outlet.


CNN’s Maya Szaniecki, Joseph Ataman, Caitlin Danaher, Alex Hardie and Niamh Kennedy contributed reporting.

KSL 5 TV Live

World News

"Mary Poppins," which was rated U for Universal upon its 1964 release, is now rated PG in the UK be...

Harmeet Kaur, CNN

‘Mary Poppins’ gets a new age rating in the UK over its use of a racial slur

A British film industry group has raised the age rating for the beloved children’s classic “Mary Poppins” over discriminatory language.

3 days ago

The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square is preparing to perform its last two concerts in the Philippi...

Dan Rascon

Tabernacle Choir prepares to perform at renowned Mall of Asia with Filipino press day

The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square is preparing to perform its last two concerts in the Philippines with a press day. Afterward, the choir will continue on with its world tour.

4 days ago

Aaron Bushnell as seen from his LinkedIn profile. Bushnell set himself ablaze outside the Israeli E...

Michael Balsamo, Associated Press

US airman dies after setting himself ablaze outside Israeli Embassy in Israel-Hamas war protest

An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., while declaring that he “will no longer be complicit in genocide.”

4 days ago

The Birmingham England Temple Rendering...

Michael Houck

Church releases location for Vancouver Washington Temple, renderings for England, US temples

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has released the site location of the Vancouver Washington Temple and artistic renderings for temples in England, Nevada and Texas.

4 days ago

FILE - This May 20, 2013, file photo shows a first edition copy of the first Harry Potter book "Har...

Associated Press

Proof copy of Harry Potter book, bought for pennies in 1997, sells for more than $13,000

A proof copy of the first Harry Potter novel that was bought for pennies in a second-hand bookshop almost 30 years ago has sold at auction for 11,000 pounds ($13,900.)

4 days ago

Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry, from Virginia, were spending the winter cruising the Eastern Caribb...

Sharif Paget, Chris Boyette and Polo Sandoval, CNN

2 Americans believed dead after yacht allegedly hijacked in Grenada

The family of two Americans who may have been killed after prison escapees allegedly hijacked their yacht in Granada are clinging to hope the couple might be found alive.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

British boy returns home to UK after disappearing for six years