A 13-year-old boy was found in a Georgia residence behind a fake wall, four years after his mother reported him missing in Florida.
The teen, who has not been identified, was found in a Jonesboro, Georgia, home along with five other people, including the boy's father, Gregory Jean. According to Reuters, Jean, 37, and Samantha Joy Davis, 42, are facing charges of false imprisonment, cruelty to children, and obstructing an officer.
What legal consequences could these alleged kidnappers face, if convicted?
Tried to Conceal Boy in Fake Wall
The boy was found by police on Saturday, but his mother had actually reported him missing four years prior. Sergeant Kevin Hughes of the Clayton County police noted that the boy had been reported missing "to child welfare but not police" and no missing person's report had been filed in Clayton County.
Atlanta's WSB-TV reports that authorities believe the boy was visiting Jean in 2010 when his father refused to return the boy to his mother. Four years later, the boy managed to contact his mother who alerted police to his whereabouts in the Jonesboro home. When police initially searched the home, Jean and Davis allegedly denied the boy's existence or any knowledge of him.
Coming back several hours later, the Clayton County police found the boy "behind a panel behind a linen closet in an insulation area in the garage," reports WSB-TV. The obstruction charges facing Jean and Davis are undoubtedly tied to this fake wall charade, and Reuters reports that three juveniles in the house are also facing obstruction charges.
No Bail for Dad and Stepmom
A Clayton County magistrate denied Davis and Jean bond on Sunday, forcing the pair to stay in jail until their next court appearance. Based on the severity of the charges and Davis' prior criminal record, it doesn't seem likely that a judge will grant a lenient bail amount in the future. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Davis had been convicted of child cruelty in 2006 for "cutting off part of her own 6-year-old son's tongue with hot scissors after he talked back to her."
Police are still investigating the case, and Jean and Davis are due back in court December 9.
- Bail denied for Georgia parents accused of hiding child behind fake wall (The New York Daily News)
- What to Do When a Loved One Goes Missing? (FindLaw's Blotter)
- After a Child Abduction, 1st Steps Are Crucial (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Nat'l Missing Children's Day: Facts, Tips Every Adult Should Know (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)