Police in Germany raided the home of a man suspected of possessing child pornography and found a 15-year-old boy who had been missing for two years hiding in the man’s closet.
As CNN reported, police were conducting the investigation in Recklinghausen, a town in the German state in North Rhine-Westphalia. They were searching the home of a 44-year-old man who they believed had been distributing child pornography and instead found the long-missing teen.
“The officers discovered a boy in the closet. An investigation showed this was a 15-year old boy who has been missing for a long time,” the Recklinghausen police said in a statement.
Police arrested both the 44-year-old man and another older man who was in the apartment at the time, CNN reported. The German news outlet DW identified the older man as the suspect’s father, and noted that he was later released. It was not clear if the older man was under investigation in relation to the child pornography or the boy found in the closet.
Police said they did not see an indication that the teen was being held against his will, but he has been taken into police custody and remained under their protection. Investigators then obtained an arrest warrant for the younger man for what was called a “serious sexual offense.”
Police did not name the boy or the suspects.
The investigation did also yield a number of electronic devices that police said contained data storage units. That is under investigation as well, though police did not say if it was connected to the distribution of child pornography.
It was also not clear if the operation was connected to any other recent child pornography arrests. Police worldwide have cracked down on networks that stretch across international borders, with a number of major operations that involved cooperation between police from various countries.
DW noted that the teen found in the man’s closet had disappeared from a shelter in 2017 and was reported missing by social workers, but investigators had no luck in finding the boy until he was discovered in the suspected pedophile’s closet.
The boy’s mother spoke out after he was found, revealing that the teen’s first name is Marvin and that the apparent abduction appears to have done significant damage to him.
“The man with whom he was found must have manipulated Marvin,” she said, via DW. “I could go crazy thinking about the things done to him.”