Alex Batty’s granddad may have DIED six months ago as cops fear ‘cult mum’ fled to Finland prompting teen to make escape

Alex Batty’s granddad may have DIED six months ago as cops fear ‘cult mum’ fled to Finland prompting teen to make escape

BRITISH teen Alex Batty’s grandfather may be dead and his mum could be hiding in Finland, police in France have revealed.

The boy, from Greater Manchester, disappeared aged 11 while on a family holiday in Spain in 2017 and was found in France this week.

Brit Alex Batty has been found alive in France after vanishing six years ago

Alex in 2017 with his mum and grandad in a video sent to his family in the UK

Local reports said he fled a rural spiritual community in the Pyrenees mountains and hiked for days to escape. A concerned lorry driver eventually picked him up and contacted police, who interviewed him.

French prosecutor Antoine Leroy has now revealed that Alex’s grandfather David, who was with both Alex and Alex’s mother Melanie, may have died six months ago.

He added that Alex, now 17, did not attend his grandfather’s funeral but there was a ceremony held in the community around the time of his death.

Speaking in a press conference on Friday afternoon, Leroy claimed Alex decided to leave his mother in the Pyrenees mountains when she told him they needed to move to Finland.

He said Alex and his mother and grandfather “were constantly on the move”.

Leroy added: “We still need to find out more.

“There was a phobia around certain elements of life which meant the family would travel in a community with ten people at a time.”

The prosecutor said Alex had spoken about having to live within the “realm of a community” and was never enrolled in school.

Alex walked “exclusively at night” for four days, sleeping during the day to avoid detection, before being found by the delivery driver.

He is said to have been heading to Toulouse in the hopes he could find assistance and return home to his grandmother in the UK.

It is not known whether Alex told his mother that he wanted to leave the community, Leroy said.

Alex Batty, was 11 years old when he went missing during a family holiday in Spain in 2017

His mum Melanie and grandad allegedly kidnapped him, leaving his grandmother and legal guardian Susan devastated

On December 14 Alex was found alive and well six years after his kidnapping

He hiked for four days to escape a commune in the Pyrenees mountains

His family in the UK think he was “brainwashed” by his mum and grandad’s beliefs

The lorry driver who picked him up has revealed his simple hope after the six-year ordeal

Leroy also confirmed today that Alex was expected to return to the UK tomorrow as police look to speak with Alex’s mother.

Melanie and David allegedly abducted the boy in 2017 during a family holiday to Spain, before forcing him to live in a spiritual sect.

The commune is said to be based in the foothills of the Pyrenees, with its members sleeping rough.

Leroy said: “He had no fixed abode. He was living in a spiritual community with his mother and grandfather.

“He walked for four days and four nights to get away. He walked exclusively at night and slept during the day.”

The teen is expected to fly to Manchester tomorrow before returning to the home of his grandmother and legal guardian, Susan Caruana, in Oldham.

A French police source explained: “She is his legal guardian, and the case is now in the hands of Manchester police.

“The young man is staying at a youth hostel in Toulouse, but should be back in Britain soon.”

Susan said she couldn’t wait to be reunited with Alex, describing his impending return as “amazing”.

She added: “It’s an incredible story. It’s unbelievable after all these years. I’m in shock. I can’t believe it. I have spoken to him and he’s well, that’s all I can say for now.

“I’m desperate to see him over the weekend but I don’t know what’s happening. I’m waiting for the authorities to let me know. It’s been all over the news. It’s breathtaking, and I’m over the moon. I just can’t believe it.”

The boy has so far refused to say where his mother is, according to a prosecuting source in Toulouse, but Susan said she believed Melanie and David were seeking an alternative lifestyle.

Alex left Manchester with his mother and grandfather for a pre-agreed week-long holiday to Marbella in Spain on September 30, 2017 and last seen at the Port of Malaga on October 8 the same year – the day they were expected to return to the UK.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: “This is a complex and long-running investigation, and we need to make further enquiries as well as putting appropriate safeguarding measures in place.”

And a UK Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are supporting a British national in France and are in contact with local authorities.”

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