Gregory Jean Jr.'s mother reported him missing to child services in 2010, but apparently never filed a police report. Cops say his father, who had visitation rights, took him across state lines to Georgia.
But the 13-year-old reportedly engineered his rescue with a little quick thinking. Cops say he managed to Facebook friend request his mom by connecting a cell phone without a service provider to a wifi network. Then he downloaded an app that allowed him to make calls via wifi and began planning his escape with his mom and sister.
Cops first visited the home on Friday evening but left when Jean's father and stepmother said that hadn't seen him in years.
But Jean's mother reportedly called the cops again—this time with more details about Jean's location. Police conducted a second, more thorough search and discovered him behind the wall—but they were too late to stop his father from allegedly punishing him for trying to escape.
After police left following the first visit, the incident report says the boy "was thrown down the stairs and punched several times... (causing) bleeding and lacerations around his mouth." The report says the boy was assaulted by a juvenile in the house at the direction of the boy's father, apparently in retribution for contacting his mother. Three teenagers, the children of Samantha Joy Davis, were also arrested Saturday morning.
Jean's biological mother, Lisa Smith, told reporters his stepmother is an "evil woman," who, according to reports, is currently on probation for cutting her own child's tongue with a pair of hot scissors. Police say she also may have hit Jean with a stick on his legs, back, and buttocks. Neighbors say they weren't sure if he was in school and often witnessed him doing yard work.
Both Jean's father and stepmother were denied bail in court Monday. Jean told reporters he felt badly, explaining he "came to visit his dad, not stay," and just wanted to go home without getting him in trouble.
Cops on the scene said Jean began thanking them repeatedly when they were finally able rescue him from the hiding spot—a crawl-through area filled with insulation between an attic, garage and linen closet.