Missing British boy Alex Batty who disappeared in France six years ago is found

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    A British boy who went missing six years ago in France has been found alive and well, it is believed.

    Alex Batty, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, was 11 when he went missing while travelling with his family in Spain in October 2017. He hadn't been seen since.

    It is believed he had been living in caravans and tents in a "spiritual community" at the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains in France before making a break for it and being picked up by a lorry driver, who alerted authorities. Now prosecutors have said Alex, now 17, has turned up in Revel, near Toulouse in the nation's southern Occitanie region.

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    Local news outlet La Depeche reported today (Thursday, December 14): "The Alex Batty mystery is about to be solved. Although he did not show any official document to the gendarmes (police) who took him in, this young 17-year-old boy provided his identity on his own.

    "His face and his story correspond in every way to that of the Briton kidnapped in 2017. This Thursday the Toulouse public prosecutor confirmed that it is indeed Alex Batty."

    The child was with his mother Melanie Batty and grandfather David Batty, then 37 and 58 respectively, when he vanished. Both adults had been banned from being with Alex at the time of his disappearance as a result of domestic difficulties.

    After a two-week trip to Marbella the family were set to come back to the UK but failed to return. Police then launched an inquiry after Alex remained unaccounted for.

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    Alexโ€™s grandmother and official guardian Susan Caruana said she reckoned the group may have adopted "an alternative lifestyle" somewhere. Speaking out at the time, she said: "They didn't want [Alex] to go to school, they don't believe in mainstream school."

    Investigators reckon Alex escaped from a rural community living near the Pyrenees mountain range. The boy is believed to have spent days hiking before a lorry driver picked him up.

    However the motorist reportedly became suspicious of Alex's circumstances and got in touch with police. When questioned by detectives, the youngster "recounted his incredible journey, serenely and calmly," La Depeche added.

    "His story has been verified and appears to correspond to reality," the publication said. "Following this hearing, the teenager was entrusted to the department's social services, while waiting for his relatives to come forward."

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