Police launch criminal investigation into missing UK boy found in France

LONDON (Reuters) – British police on Friday said they had launched a criminal investigation into the alleged abduction of Alex Batty, a British teenager who resurfaced in France earlier this month after disappearing six years ago.

Batty disappeared in 2017 at the age of 11 during a holiday with his mother and grandfather in Malaga, Spain.

The police, who had said his mother would feature in any investigation, launched an official probe after they interviewed Batty, now 17, following his return to Britain from France.

Batty also gave an interview to Britain’s Sun newspaper on Friday, explaining what he had been doing in the last six years. He said his mother had lived a nomadic life, and he ran away because he wanted a change.

He was found by a delivery driver who spotted the teenager wandering along a road around the southern city of Toulouse, saying the boy later told him he had left a remote mountain community in the Pyrenees.

Batty said his mother had moved him between homes across Europe for six years and he left after a final argument. He said she hadn’t wanted him to become “a slave to the system”.

(Reporting by Farouq Suleiman; Editing by Kate Holton)