A British boy who disappeared in 2017 while on a family vacation in Spain was found Tuesday in France, Toulouse officials told Reuters.
French prosecutors confirmed they found Alex Batty, of Oldham, Greater Manchester, who was 11 years old when his mother and grandfather took him on the trip, according to Reuters.
According to the outlet, the child, now 17, was found in southern France fleeing a spiritualist mountain commune.
Alex was last seen with his mother, Melanie Batty, 38, and grandfather, David Batty, 59, who did not have parental guardianship over the child at the time, according to Greater Manchester Police.
Police said Alex was under the care of his grandmother, Susan Caruana. She told the Guardian in 2018 that she believed the boy’s mother and grandfather took him to a spiritual commune in Morocco to pursue an “alternative lifestyle.”
“The reason I believe they have done this is because basically my lifestyle, my belief systems, are not what they agree with — just simply living day-to-day, how normal people do,” Caruana told the outlet. “They didn’t want him to go to school, they don’t believe in mainstream school.”
British investigators found that the family left Benahavis on Oct. 8, 2017, and was believed to have traveled from the Port of Malaga to Melilla before going to Morocco.
According to French newspaper La Dépêche, a truck driver by the name of Fabien Accidini found Alex hitchhiking on Tuesday and picked him up.
The truck driver told the outlet that Alex said he walked for four days and that his mother was staying in the mountains with a group of people.
On Wednesday, Alex told police who he was and explained he was living in the commune but decided to leave.
A spokesperson from the Toulouse public prosecution office told Reuters that the teen should be returning to England where British authorities will lead the criminal investigation into his disappearance.
Greater Manchester Police did not immediately respond to a HuffPost request for an update on the case.