British boy who disappeared in Spain 6 years ago most likely found alive in France, officials say

Authorities suspect with 90% certainty that a British teenager who went missing six years ago in Spain has been found in southern France.

The teen boy who was brought to Revel, France, is very likely Alex Batty, 17, according to officials with the Toulouse National Gendarmerie, who told NBC News on Thursday they are 90% sure the child is Batty.

Batty went missing at age 11.

The National Gendarmerie is a national military law enforcement agency in France.

The young man had no identifying documents on him, but he identified himself to the National Gendarmerie police as Alex Batty.

“Even after all these years he looks exactly like the photo of him when he disappeared,” according to the National Gendarmerie.

The teenager was hitchhiking in the region and was picked up by a truck driver. The boy spoke mostly English. But the driver sensed something wrong and brought him to the gendarmerie police. The teenager did not ask to be taken there. But once there, he cooperated with authorities, according to the National Gendarmerie.

The teen was taken to a center for minors. The British Embassy, along with French authorities, will begin the process of formally identifying him, the National Gendarmerie said, adding that the teen was in “very good health.”

A spokesperson with the British Embassy press office in Paris, when asked by NBC News about Batty, said: “We are supporting a British national in France and are in contact with local authorities.”

In the United Kingdom, the Greater Manchester Police said officers from Batty’s hometown of Oldham are also in contact with French authorities.

The force said his mother, Melanie Batty, and his grandfather, David Batty, are wanted in connection with the teenager’s disappearance and that their whereabouts are unknown. He traveled with them on the trip to Spain in 2017.

“This is a complex and long-running investigation, and we need to make further enquiries as well as putting appropriate safeguarding measures in place,” the force said.