Late Saturday, a Florida boy who had been missing for four years, was found and reunited with his mother in Clayton County. The boy was found safe overnight on Friday, behind a false wall in a Clayton County home. Five people who were in the home were taken into custody on charges of obstruction of justice, false imprisonment, and cruelty to a child.
Police Sgt. Kevin Hughes of Clayton County PD said authorities responded to a call from the Duke Court home earlier in the day to perform a welfare check on a child. When they arrived, the occupants of the home denied any knowledge of a child or information relating to a child. Officers searched the home and turned up nothing. The officers left without locating the child.
Approximately 2:00 a.m. local time Saturday, officers received a call about the boy and returned to the home. It was during their second trip to the home, the boy was able to make contact with his mother and she relayed the information to authorities. The unidentified boy was found behind a makeshift wall in the home. The wall, according to authorities was camouflaged behind towels.
The police detained five people including the boy’s father, 37-year-old Gregory Jean, and 42-year-old Samantha Joy Davis charging them with false imprisonment, cruelty to children, and obstruction of justice. The other individuals arrested were juveniles according to Hughes. According to authorities more charges are pending. The juveniles were taken to juvenile detention. Their ages were not released.
According to a local news station, the boy was visiting his father back in 2010 when the father refused to let him return to his mother. The teen contacted his mother recently on the phone and the information was passed on to police. The boy had downloaded a cell phone app and was able to communicate to his mother that he was being beaten. When the mother received the text message she immediately dialed 911.
Police officers arrived back at the home at 2:00 a.m. They interrogated the occupants of the Clayton County home for several minutes before finding the boy who had been missing for four years. The condition of the teen or information on whether or not he was taken to the hospital was not made available. The teen was found in the linen closet in the home behind a fake wall.
Authorities have since requested a search warrant for the rest of the home. Many questions still remained like how the teen was able to remain imprisoned for so long without any intervention. Neighbors reported seeing the boy outside doing lawn work, most of the time, and was also seen sometimes playing.
Neighbors stated that the family arrived in the neighborhood six months ago. One neighbor said that she was led to believe that he was being home-schooled and saw nothing out of the ordinary.
The mother arrived from out-of-state Saturday afternoon to be reunited with her son. According to police, the mother reported the missing child to welfare authorities but not to law enforcement possibly due to immigration issues. Detectives stated many questions remained unanswered, such as who the custodial parent is and why police weren’t notified. This boy is currently in the care of the Division of Family and Children Services to ensure his safety.
The teen was pictured clinging to his mother when they were reunited. Another woman sobbed uncontrollably nearby. Tears of relief streamed down their faces as the missing boy, after being gone for four years, was found in the Clayton County home and reunited with his out-of-state mother.
By Stevenson Benoit
Photo by C. Holmes – Flickr License