A 13-year-old boy reported missing four years ago was found behind a “false wall” in the suburban Atlanta home of his father and stepmother on Friday, according to police. 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 boy’s biological mother called police and tipped them off to where the boy might be, Daniel said.
Investigators then conducted a welfare check at a Jonesboro home where the child was living, but the five people inside the home denied having any connection with the boy, police said. The investigators left, but received a second call that made them go back inside and perform a more thorough search.
During the second search, the young boy was able to call his mother, who passed along critical information to the officers on scene. That led them to find the child hiding behind a wall. Five people — two adults and three juveniles — in the home were charged with obstruction, false imprisonment and cruelty to children, according to the Clayton County Police Department, which said additional charges are pending. The two adults are the teen’s father and stepmother, Daniel said.
Local media reported that the boy's father refused to return him to his mother during a visit in 2010. The mother, who lives out of state, reunited with her son in Georgia on Saturday.