| -1.1°C Dublin

How a Facebook friend request reunited a 13-year-old boy with his mother


Gregory and his mother

Gregory and his mother

Gregory and his mother

A young boy missing for four years found behind a fake wall was reunited with his mother after sending her a Facebook friend request.

Gregory Jean Jr, 13, was reported missing by his mother Lisa Smith to child services - but not police - in 2010 after his father failed to return him to her in Florida.

It emerged that in November he managed to connect a mobile phone with no network coverage to Wi-Fi and contacted his mother via Facebook.

He then downloaded an app that allowed him to make calls; planning his escape with his mother and sister.

Police visited the house of his father Gregory Jean Sr and stepmother Samantha Joy Davis, near Atlanta in Georgia, on Friday without finding the teenager, but returned later around midnight and left with him, reuniting him with his family.

In between the two visits by police, Gregory was allegedly beaten by a youth in the house at the direction of his father.

Gregory Jean Sr and his wife have been arrested and charged with false imprisonment, cruelty to children and obstruction.

Three teenagers, understood to be the sons of Samantha Joy Davis, have also been arrested.