Teenage boy found in closet in suspected paedophile's flat after going missing more than two years ago

A teenager who went missing more than two years ago has been found in a cupboard in a suspected paedophile’s flat.

The 15-year-old, whose name has been withheld by police, was found when police raided the flat in Recklinghausen, around 60 miles north of Cologne, amid suspicions over child pornography.

Officers found the teen – who went missing two-and-a-half-years ago – in a cupboard in the apartment, police said.

A 44-year-old man, named as Lars H, has been arrested along with another man found in the apartment.

20 December 2019, North Rhine-Westphalia, Recklinghausen: The apartment building in which police searches had previously taken place. During a search of an apartment on suspicion of child pornography, the police discovered a 15-year-old man who had been missing for some time. Photo: Marcel Kusch/dpa (Photo by Marcel Kusch/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Police had been searching for the boy for more than two years before he was found in the apartment building in Recklinghausen on Friday. (Marcel Kusch/Picture Alliance via Getty Images)

In a statement, police said investigators from the Commissioner for Sexual Offences searched the flat following a request by the Bochum public prosecutor's office on suspicion of the distribution of child pornography.

“When the apartment was searched, the officers discovered a minor in the closet,” the statement said. “A review showed that this is a 15-year-old boy who has been missing for a long time. There are currently no indications that the boy was held in the apartment against his will.”

Police had been hunting for the missing boy, who lived in a residential group for children, to no avail.

His case was featured earlier this year in a program called Aktenzeichen XY Unresolved – the equivalent of Crimewatch.

Recklinghausen, where the boy was found on Friday. (Getty)

Following his discovery in the apartment in Recklinghausen, his mother told journalists: “He held on to me really tightly and he began to tremble. He said: 'Mummy, take me home. I was locked away for two and a half years and I couldn't get any fresh air.' We both cried. He took my hand and wouldn't let go.”

In a later statement issued on Saturday, police said the 44-year-old had been brought before a judge who issued an arrest warrant for a “serious sexual offence”.

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