A BOY of 13 who was reported missing four years ago has been found hidden behind a false wall at a house in Georgia in the United States.
The youngster, whose name had not been released last night, managed to text information about his hiding place in the city of Atlanta to his mother, who relayed it to police.
Officers have now reunited the teenager with his mother.
The boy’s father, 37-year-old Gregory Jean, and a woman have been arrested on charges including cruelty to children and false imprisonment.
The boy’s mother had apparently reported him missing to the child welfare authorities but not to police, and no missing person’s report was filed, Sergeant Kevin Hughes of the Clayton County Police said.
The teenager was apparently able to get to a phone recently and contacted his mother with his whereabouts.
Police went to the house on Friday night to look for the 13-year-old, but Mr Jean and the woman he was with said they had no information about the boy.
Several hours later, police went back and again searched the residence. While police officers were in the house, the boy called his mother, who relayed to officers where her son was hidden in the house, Sgt Hughes said.
“They discovered him hidden behind a false wall in the interior portion of the home,” he said.
The boy was said to be initially “frozen with fear” but “overjoyed” to be rescued. He appeared to be in good physical health and was reunited with his mother, who had travelled to Georgia from outwith the state.
Neighbours in the quiet, well-kept Jonesboro neighbourhood of the city said the family had moved in about six months ago and kept to themselves. They added that the boy always seemed to be home and did not appear to be enrolled in school.
“We just thought that they liked to keep to themselves,” said neighbour Julie Pizarro, 37, adding that the boy was often seen tending to the family garden.
“You can see the yard is immaculate,” she said. “The boy kept it that way.”
The youngster went missing in 2010 while visiting his father in Florida. Last night, Mr Jean was being held in a local jail and no bail had been set.