Boy Missing Since 2010 Found Behind False Wall
US police search the home twice before finding the child "frozen with fear" concealed behind a linen closet panel.
18:39, UK,Saturday 29 November 2014
The boy is reunited with his mother. Pic: Stephen Boissy WXIA
A boy reported missing four years ago has been found hidden behind a false wall at a home in the US state of Georgia, according to local media.
Police first visited the house in suburban Atlanta shortly before 11pm on Friday to perform a welfare check after receiving a tip-off.
Clayton County Police Sgt Kevin Hughes said the occupants of the Jonesboro property denied knowing anything about a missing boy.
Investigators searched the home, but did not find anything.
The police department received another call at about 2am on Saturday, leading officers back to carry out a more thorough search.
During their second visit, the 13-year-old boy was able to call his mother, who lives in Florida.
She passed along critical information to officers on scene, Sgt Hughes told local media.
The boy, whose name has not been released, was found behind a panel in a linen closet in the garage, reports WSBTV.
Police Sergeant Joanne Southerland told the station that the boy was "frozen with fear".
When he realised he was safe, he repeatedly thanked the officers and was "overjoyed", according to the channel.
The boy had recently been able to make contact with his mother after downloading a messaging app on to a mobile phone.
Five people at the house were arrested and charged with obstruction, false imprisonment and cruelty to children.
Two of them were the boy's father and stepmother. The three others were juveniles.
Further charges are expected.
A neighbour told WSBTV the boy was frequently outside the house, mostly doing chores but sometimes playing.
The boy's father reportedly refused to return him to his mother in Florida after a visit in 2010.
According to WSBTV, the child's biological mother is an immigrant who reported him missing to child welfare authorities, but not to the police.
She was reunited with her son on Saturday morning, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The boy has reportedly been placed in state custody until investigators can unravel the case.