Alex Batty, the British teenager found in France after six years missing, reportedly told reporters he was “glad to be home for Christmas”.
He was 11 when he went on vacation with his mother Melanie Batty – who does not have legal parental guardianship – and his grandfather, David Batty, in 2017, and never returned.
Alex, now 17 years old, was found Wednesday after a delivery driver offered to drive him near Toulouse.
This weekend it was reunited with his family in the United Kingdom – thought to include his grandmother and legal guardian, Susan Caruana.
He told reporters on Monday that he was “happy to be home for Christmas”, according to reports in several British newspapers.
On Sunday, Assistant Chief Constable Matt Boyle of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) confirmed that Alex had returned to the UK.
“Earlier, Alex met a member of his family alongside officers from Greater Manchester Police at Toulouse Airport, before returning to the UK,” he said on Sunday.
“This moment is undoubtedly huge for him and his loved ones and we are happy that they were able to see each other again after all this time.”
Alex discovered he was ‘walking alone’
Alex was found by Fabien Accidini, a chiropractic student, while he walk alone near Toulouse in the early hours of Wednesday.
Ms Caruana, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, said on Friday: “I cannot begin to express my relief and happiness that Alex has been found safe.
“I spoke to him last night and it was so good to hear his voice and see his face again. I can’t wait to see him when we are reunited.
“The most important thing is that he is safe, after what would be a life-changing experience for anyone, especially a child.”
She asked for privacy while the family welcomed Alex back.
Read more on Sky News:
Alex ran away “because mom wanted to take him to Finland”
What really happened after his disappearance?
The man who found him says Alex ‘wants to live a normal life’
Alex is believed to have been living an “alternative” lifestyle with his mother and grandfather across Spain, Morocco and France during his disappearance.
French authorities said he decided to leave when his mother wanted to go to Finland.
Mr Accidini said the teenager told him he had been hiking in nearby mountains for more than four days trying to return to England.
On Friday, French prosecutors said the teenager’s mother, Mélanie Batty, wanted in connection with his disappearance, may be in Finland, while his grandfather David Batty has died.
Prosecutor Antoine Leroy said Alex said he knew his lifestyle with his mother “had to stop” after she announced plans to move to Finland.
This led him to walk “four days and four nights” across the Pyrenees, Mr. Leroy said.
Alex was described as “tired” but “in good health” after being checked by French authorities and seemed “intelligent” even though he had not been to school for six years.
The prosecutor also said the boy did not appear to have suffered any physical violence.