Clayton County police were arrived at the house in Jonesboro, Georgia, just before 11 p.m. Friday. It was a welfare check call, WXIA-TV reported.
But when police got to the residence, those inside said no one needed help, Sergeant K.T. Hughes told WXIA. Officers searched the house but found nothing.
Little did they know that a 13-year-old boy reported missing nearly 4 years ago was inside that very house, allegedly kept against his will behind a false wall.
Then another call came in to police. Same house. So officers went back, WXIA reported.
But after police arrived for a second time and started searching again, the boy was able to phone his mother; soon she was talking to police and telling them her son was there.
Police said the wall was camouflaged with towels — and they found the boy, who's name hasn't been released.
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Officers arrested the boy's father and stepmother, 37-year-old Gregory Jean and 42-year-old Samantha Joy Davis, and three more suspects. All were charged with obstruction, false imprisonment and cruelty to children. More charges are pending.
The boy's mother, who lives in another state, traveled to Georgia to see her son and they were reunited Saturday morning, the station said.
[sharequote align="center"]"It was a shock to all of us."[/sharequote]
Neighbors told WXIA they often saw the boy doing yard work and got the word he was being homeschooled, so no suspicions were raised.
"It was a shock to all of us," Julie Pizarro, who lives across the street, told the station. "They were really nice people, very open. They said come over anytime you want."
In fact Pizarro said her son played just about every day with the boy, who "didn't seem under any distress. I guess you never know what's behind closed doors."
Akono Ekundayo, who lives across the street, told WXIA he and his wife saw the boy nearly every day and is wondering if he missed any warning signs.
"Gosh, it was right under our nose," he told the station. "We could have done something. But he was never in distress, it didn't seem like."