Missing boy found in France returns to Britain on Saturday – police

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) -Alex Batty, the British teenager who resurfaced in southern France after disappearing six years ago, returned to Britain on Saturday, local police said.

The boy, who left a spiritualist community in the Pyrenees mountains, disappeared at the age of 11 during a holiday with his mother and grandfather in Malaga, Spain, in 2017.

Greater Manchester Police said the teenager met with a relative and police officers, who accompanied him on his journey back to Britain.

“It gives me great pleasure to say that Alex has now made his safe return to the UK after six years,” Matt Boyle, assistant chief constable, told reporters.

Boyle said they need to speak with the teenager to go over what happened to him to determine whether there will be a criminal investigation.

The teenager had spent the past two years in different areas of southern France, living in “spiritual communities” with his mother, but not in a sect, Toulouse deputy prosecutor Antoine Leroy said on Friday.

The grandfather died about six months ago, said Leroy, adding that the boy’s mother might currently be in Finland.

France’s BFM TV has reported a search operation was underway to find Batty’s mother.

(Reporting by Alain Acco; Writing by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Jonathan Oatis)