British boy missing since 2017 has been found in France, say authorities

PARIS — French authorities on Thursday said an adolescent from Britain who disappeared six years ago in Spain has been found in a mountain region close to Toulouse in southern France.

The identity of the boy—referred to as Alex Batty, originally from Greater Manchester—has been confirmed by the family, the local prosecution office told Reuters.

“He should soon be returning to England,” a spokesperson from the Toulouse public prosecution office said, adding that the criminal investigation into Batty’s disappearance is being led by British authorities.

According to French media reports, Batty—then 11 years old—had disappeared during a trip with his mother and grandfather to Malaga, Spain, in 2017.

French paper La Depeche reported Batty recently stayed with a spiritual community in the Ariege departement in the Pyrenees mountains, known for being a destination for escapists from across Europe in pursuit of an alternative way of life.

Citing no sources, the paper said Batty appeared to have tried to flee from the community, adding: “Motorists who crossed his path eventually found his behavior unusual, and alerted the emergency services.” — Reuters

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