Missing boy found 4 years later
Jonesboro, Ga. — A Georgia judge denied bond for a man and woman charged with child cruelty and false imprisonment after police found the man’s 13-year-old son hidden behind a false wall in the couple’s metro Atlanta home.
WXIA-TV reported the couple made their first court appearance at the Clayton County jail Sunday. They were arrested when police found the boy Saturday after he used a cellphone to send his mother a text message.
Police said the mother told them she reported her son missing to child welfare officials four years ago when the boy’s father wouldn’t return him after a visit. Police say they’re trying to determine who had legal custody.
Meanwhile, a judge scheduled a Dec. 9 preliminary hearing for the father and woman charged with hiding the boy.
The father and a woman and three other people were arrested after the child was found in a home in Clayton County, south of Atlanta, police said Saturday.
The boy, 13, was reunited with his mother after police found him around 2 a.m. Saturday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The father and a woman at the home face charges of false imprisonment, cruelty to children and obstruction, WSB-TV reported. Police said three juveniles were also arrested.
Police say people at the home denied any knowledge about the child when officers showed up late Friday night. But police returned early Saturday and found the boy because he was able to call his mother while officers were at the house, said Sgt. Kevin Hughes of the Clayton County Police Department.
“While at the location during the second call, the victim was able to establish phone contact with his mother and she in turn passed on additional information to the officers on the scene,” Hughes said. “The victim was found behind a false wall within the residence.”
It wasn’t clear Saturday how the boy was reported missing, or to which agency.
Authorities said the boy was visiting his father in 2010, and that the father refused to return the boy to his mother, WSB reported.
There were many unanswered questions about who has custody of the boy, Deputy Police Chief Mike Register told WSB.
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