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Boy Hidden in Garage of Georgia Home Recounts Rescue: 'They Didn't Give Up'

The boy, 13-year-old Gregory Jean Jr., was found last week at his father's home in Georgia after he was reported missing four years ago by his mother.

The missing 13-year-old boy found hiding in a “false wall” inside a Georgia home exchanged harrowing text messages with his sister in the moments before police recovered him, according to NBC affiliate WESH. Gregory Jean Jr., who was reported missing by his mother in Florida four years ago after he was allegedly taken by his father, managed to use a smartphone to first contact his sister Friday — setting in motion his dramatic rescue.

Police are “on the way look out for the cops if you see them run out to them,” his sister said in text messages obtained by WESH. Their mother had been able to alert police in Clayton County, a suburb of Atlanta, of the boy’s location.

Gregory was hiding in an attic space over the home’s garage, which police say was accessible through a false panel in a linen closet. He was allegedly forced to hide there on more than one occasion.

“If you have to bang on the garage door so the cops can hear you do it,” the sister said.

Police arrested five people in connection with the boy’s kidnapping, including his father, Gregory Jean Sr., 37, and his stepmother, Samantha Davis, 42. Jean and Davis face false imprisonment, cruelty to children and obstruction charges. The boy said he rarely spoke with his mother, and when he did, it was only on speakerphone and he had been coached on what to say, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Gregory added that he was given a cellphone by his father to keep in touch with school friends, but he never had the nerve to call his family in Florida until last week. He thanked police for helping him reunite with his mother. “They found me,” Gregory told WESH, “and they didn’t give up on me.”



— Erik Ortiz