Alex Batty Disappearance Case: U.K. Boy Who Went Missing at 11 Years Old Found 6 Years Later

Alex Batty, an 11-year-old boy from the U.K. who disappeared in 2017, has been found six years later while hitchhiking in France, authorities have confirmed.

By Kisha Forde Dec 18, 2023 3:49 PMTags
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Alex Batty has been reunited with his loved ones.

Six years after the U.K. native—who was 11 years old at the time—vanished while on a trip to Spain, he has been found while hitchhiking in France, police have confirmed.

"It gives me great pleasure to say that Alex has now made his safe return back to the U.K. after six years," Assistant Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police Matt Boyle, said in a Dec. 17 press conference, explaining officers helped reunite him with a family member. "This moment was undoubtedly huge for him, and his loved ones and we're glad they've been able to see each other again after all this time."

Authorities noted that they're working on establishing the exact circumstances surrounding his disappearance.

"Speaking with him at a pace that feels comfortable to him will ultimately determine how this case is progressed and whether there's a criminal investigation to ensue," Matt explained. "Our continued focus in supporting Alex and his family in partnership with other local agencies to ensure they are safe, their well-being is looked after and his reintegration in society is as easy as possible."

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As police noted, "No matter what, understand this may be an overwhelming process."

Alex's mother Melanie Batty, and his grandfather, David Batty, who embarked with him on the trip to Spain in 2017, are wanted in connection with his disappearance, according to NBC News. Their whereabouts are currently unknown.

The now 17-year-old was discovered after a delivery deliver spotted him walking alone in the rain with a flashlight in a mountainous area of southern France.

"I said to myself, ‘That's strange,'" Fabien Accidini told French broadcaster BFMTV, per the Associated Press. "It's 3 am in the morning, it's raining, he's all by himself on the road between two villages."

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After picking him up, the driver brought him to the gendarmerie police.

The teenager told French investigators, according to the AP, that he's spent the past few years traveling with his mother and her father as part of a "spiritual community," deciding to part ways after he says his mom told him of plans to move to Finland.

"When his mother indicated that she intended to leave for Finland with him," prosecutor Antoine Leroy said at a news conference, per the outlet, "this young man understood that this journey had to stop."

Alex walked through the rural part of France for four nights, per the AP, surviving off "different things that he found in fields or gardens," according to prosecutors, before he was picked up and led to safety.

Shortly after his return, Alex's grandmother, Susan Caruana, expressed her joy at learning of his fate.

"I cannot begin to express my relief and happiness that Alex has been found safe and well," she said in a statement obtained by AP. "It was so good to hear his voice and see his face again."

E! News has reached out to Greater Manchester Police for additional updates and has not heard back.

(E! and NBC News are part of the NBCUniversal family.)

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