Alex Batty, a British teenager, returned to the U.K. on Saturday, ending a six-year period since he left for a two-week vacation in Spain and did not return. Batty, who was under the guardianship of his grandmother in Oldham, near Manchester, was reported missing after failing to return from the holiday.
Greater Manchester Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Matt Boyle confirmed Batty’s return, stating he arrived on a flight from Toulouse, France. Boyle indicated that the police are investigating the circumstances of Batty’s disappearance to determine if a criminal investigation is warranted.
Now 17 years old, Batty informed French authorities that he lived a nomadic life in Spain, Morocco, and France with his mother and grandfather. They were reportedly part of a “spiritual community,” engaging in activities like meditation, growing their own food, and discussing topics such as reincarnation.
French prosecutor Antoine Leroy reported that Batty chose to leave the group when his mother planned to relocate the family to Finland. Batty was discovered by a delivery driver, Fabien Accidini, while walking alone at night in the rain in southern France. He shared with Accidini his decision to leave after traveling on foot for four days.
Melanie Batty, Alex’s mother, is currently wanted by British police in connection with his initial disappearance. French officials suggest she may be in Finland. It is believed that Alex’s grandfather, David Batty, passed away approximately six months ago.
The story has captured significant media attention in Britain. Alex’s grandmother, Susan Caruana, has requested privacy for the family as they reunite with Alex. She expressed relief and happiness at his safe return.
Assistant Chief Constable Boyle stated that the police would engage with Alex at a pace comfortable for him, acknowledging the potential overwhelming nature of his return after such a prolonged absence.