A German boy who went missing in 2017 has been found in a child pornography raid in a man’s home.
The German police were suspicious of a 44-year-old man in the western city of Recklinghausen for distributing child pornography, so raided his apartment to contain the evidence. During the search, however, they discovered a teenage boy hiding in a closet.
The police made a statement on Friday: “It was a 15-year-old who had been missing for a long time.”
Manuela Bock, the boy’s mother, frequently posted to her Facebook page in an attempt to find her son. According to the information and posters, the boy has been missing for 922 days.
Since June 2019, Manuela has been searching for her son after he left a halfway house in Duisburg where he had been living before his disappearance.
The boy’s mother tried to keep her son’s name and face in the public eye by circulating missing person posters and appearing on a local television show in which she requested tips for her son’s appearance from the public, which could lead to his eventual discovery.
Throughout this dreadful period, Manuela never gave up on finding her son.
She told the weekly newspaper Bild am Sonntag in an interview which was published on Sunday: “For two and a half years I imagined what it would be like to see him again.
“But it wasn’t as I imagined. It was crazy! You can’t speak, you just want to take your child with you.”
According to information shared from the authorities, her son spent the entire time of his disappearance hidden in the apartment of the suspect, whom they identified as a 44-year-old German man.
The suspect was detained on Friday and is being held on suspicion of a severe sexual crime.
German news site DW claims that authorities also detained the suspect’s 77-year-old father who lived in the same property but later released him.
The boy told his mother once reunited that he hadn’t set a foot outside since going missing, but so far there has been no indication of the teenager being bound or suffering any visible abuse.
The police stated: “There is currently no indication the boy was held in the apartment against his will.”
Despite this, Manuela claims she hardly recognised her son.
“I was shocked,” she said. “He seemed to me like a broken old man.”
The boy is now in the care of psychologists who are assessing his condition. It was not made clear when he would be allowed to return home.
Due to the death of the boy’s father, the boy had been suffering from behavioural issues which lead to his whereabouts in the halfway house.
His mother told Bild: “It is so difficult for me. We now need to take one step at a time. He needs to work through his experiences of the past two and a half years.”
On Saturday, the authorities returned to the raided apartment and confiscated phones, computer hard drives and any other potential evidence. Over 50 boxes of evidence were taken
The home was in discovered in a bad state, meaning the investigators had to enter in protective masks due to the strong smell of urine and litter.
The boy’s mother added that her son was still in the same clothes that he was wearing when he vanished two years ago.
“I want to dress him up,” she said, “to celebrate a little Christmas with him.”
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