Police launch 'kidnap' investigation after teen Alex Batty returned home to the UK six years after he went missing

22 December 2023, 13:27 | Updated: 22 December 2023, 13:59

A kidnap investigation into Alex Batty's disappearance has been launched
A kidnap investigation into Alex Batty's disappearance has been launched. Picture: Handout

By Will Taylor

Police have begun a criminal investigation into the alleged abduction of Alex Batty, who vanished for six years.

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The British boy disappeared while on holiday with his family in Spain in 2017.

But he re-emerged in the Pyrenees in southern France and has returned to the UK to be with his grandmother.

Police have now interviewed the 17-year-old, and a criminal probe has been launched.

Alex disappeared aged 11 while with mother Melanie - who uses the name Rose and his grandfather, David, six years ago.

They are believed to have moved around until ending up in southern France, where Alex - under the pseudonym Zach - eventually decided to leave her.

He had grown weary of having no friends and social life.

Alex told The Sun that the final straw came after he had an argument with his mother.

She was thought to be trying to pursue a "spiritual" way of life and distrusted the government and vaccines, remarking how people were "becoming a slave to the system".

Read more: Alex Batty reveals heartbreaking final note to mother Melanie after he leaves her in France

Alex Batty has re-emerged after six years
Alex Batty has re-emerged after six years. Picture: Handout

He left a note, which said: "Hey, Mom. I want you to know I love you very much. I'm very thankful for the life that you provided for me over the past few years.

"Don't worry about yourself. I'm sure you won't get found. Don't worry about me either. You know I can look after myself. I love you very much. Don't be angry with me. Love Alex."

The teenager "grew tired" of working alongside his grandad in exchange for food and rent, so he decided to make a break for it and left the community.

He left and managed to get a lift with Fabien, who took him to Toulouse and allowed him to contact his grandmother, Susan Caruana.

Alex has now admitted he made up part of his story, having originally told Fabien he walked over the Pyrenees for four days.

He claimed he made that up so his mother would not be tracked down.

Read more: Alex Batty reveals he made up four day mountain trek to throw police off the scent of his mother and grandfather

Alex's mother Melanie has vanished
Alex's mother Melanie has vanished. Picture: Alamy

Instead, he had left the town of Quillan, returned in the evening to avoid detection from his mother, then hitched a ride.

Having now spoken publicly, Alex revealed he plans to study computer science, cyber security or blockchain development.

"I'm going to be very busy studying and catching up on things," he said.

Melanie is said to have a network of friends who could help the mother, who appears to be suspicious of the state, from being detected.

Alex believes she was going to head to Finland for the Northern Lights.

His grandfather, who he says he adores, is also still alive, despite previous speculation he may have died.