A BABY boy who was allegedly kidnapped by his babysitter neighbour eight years ago is due to be reunited with his mother.
Miguel Antonio Morin was just eight months old when he went missing after his mother Auboni Champion-Morin left him with their teenage neighbour, Krystle Tanner, who was also the boy's godmother.
Police said that he was found in the Texas town of San Augustine, around 165 miles away from the Houston apartment house where the neighbours had been living when Miguel went missing.
Sheriff's Chief Deputy Gary Cunningham said that the boy was in a good condition and was in the care of the Texas Child Protection Services.
He disclosed that Tanner had been arrested in connection with the kidnapping following an investigation launched by Child Protection Services in August into allegations that she had been negligent in supervising her children, and had physically abused an eight-year-old.
Mrs Champion-Morin, a mother of six, said she thought it was a joke when the child welfare agency telephoned her to say that Miguel had been found.
She told CNN: "I kind of had to look at the phone - was this real? At first it kind of scared me."
Describing the night her son was kidnapped, Mrs Champion said she had five children under the age of four at the time, and had asked Tanner to look after Miguel, who was her youngest at the time, because she was struggling to cope.
The two families were close, sharing Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, and she had no reason to suspect that he would not be safe with the teenager.
"At that time, I trusted her, I knew her," she said. "I was having hardship at the time. I asked her to watch him overnight, and when I came back... they were gone."
Tanner, who was a high school student, did not turn up to her classes that morning, and her mother told Mrs Champion-Morin that she had left the state.
Deputy Cunningham said that the state's child welfare agency began investigating Tanner after receiving a report that she had been neglecting her children and singling out an eight-year-old for abuse.
When investigators spoke to Tanner, she allegedly gave contradictory reports about the child's background, first saying that he was hers, then that he was the son of her brother or another person.
Deputy Cunningham said: "She admitted that she provided misleading information, which certainly supports our belief that she kidnapped the child."
The little boy could now be returned to his family by the end of the week, once blood tests prove definitively that he is Miguel.
Mrs Champion-Morin said that she had never given up hope that she would find him. "I always wondered every night. I dreamed and prayed on it," she said.
"I'm going to let him know I love him with all my heart ... and any questions he has, I will answer them. It will be hard. We will probably have to go to a psychiatrist together."