A boy reported missing about four years ago was found hidden behind a false wall in a home here, and the boy’s father and four other people were arrested, police said Saturday.
Clayton County, Ga., police were first called to the home in Jonesboro, an Atlanta suburb, shortly before 11 p.m. Friday to perform a welfare check after receiving a call from the boy’s biological mother.
The boy had used a smartphone to contact his sister online, and she relayed the message to their mother, Clayton County police Capt. Angelo Daniel told NBC News. The mother called police and tipped them off to where the boy might be, Daniel said.
Police Sgt. K.T. Hughes said the people inside the house denied knowing anything about a possible victim. Investigators searched the home, but didn’t find anything.
The police department received another call and returned to the home a short time later.
As they searched the house the second time, the missing boy was able to call his mother, who told police her son was hidden behind a false wall, Hughes said.
“While at the location during the second call, the victim was able to establish phone contact with his mother and she in turn passed on additional information to the officers on the scene,” Hughes said. “The victim was found behind a false wall within the residence.”
WSB-TV reported that the father and a woman at the home face charges of false imprisonment, cruelty to children and obstruction. Their names have not been released. Police said three juveniles were also arrested.
It wasn’t clear Saturday how the boy was reported missing, or to which agency.
WSB reported that authorities said the boy was visiting his father in 2010. He then refused to return the boy to his mother. There were many unanswered questions Saturday about who has custody of the boy, Clayton County police Deputy Chief Mike Register told WSB.
Hughes said the victim’s mother, who lives in another state, traveled to Georgia and was reunited with her son Saturday.
Neighbors said the family moved into the house about six months ago. They told WXIA that they often saw the boy doing yard work. One neighbor said she was told the boy was homeschooled.
SOURCE: WXIA-TV, Atlanta – Ryan Kruger and Beth Sawicki