BOURBON, Missouri — A 6-year-old Missouri boy who went missing in August has been found alive in the crawl space of an attic. The boy's mother and her boyfriend have been arrested and are behind bars. The boy has been reunited with his father and stepmother.
Braedence Jones, 6, was not returned from his mother to his father, Ryan Jones, during a visit on August 3, 2018, KTVI reports. Ryan was given custody of Braedence after the couple's divorce.
But for months, Braedence's mother, Aubrey Ferguson, and her boyfriend were nowhere to be found. The couple stayed hidden for months.
"They were moving around this area as well as a few different counties surrounding Camden County, relatives were assisting," said Lt. Arylne Page, of the Camden County Sheriff Department.
In October, the Missouri State Highway Patrol then issued an endangered person advisory for Braedence, and state troopers and federal marshals joined in on the search for the young boy.
On Tuesday, January 8, 2019, they got a tip and found the three in a home in Laclede County. Authorities said Braedence and his mother were found in a crawl space in the attic.
"The boyfriend had already nailed the crawl space shut and had covered it with either a carpet or some place of cloth and had moved furniture and other items in front of it to block it," said Lt. Arlyne Page.
Ferguson and her boyfriend are behind bars, and Braedence has been reunited with his father and stepmother.
"It was the first thing we did ... give him a big hug and tell him we love him," said Ryan.
Braedence has not attended school this year, and his father said he was filthy.
"He mentioned that he hasn't had a bath, so we give him a bath. He had dirt caked on him," said Bre Dominguez, Braedence's stepmother.
His family is extremely grateful for law enforcement
"We're definitely blessed for them, we're just so thankful. Without them no telling where he could have been," said Dominguez.
Braedence even opened his Christmas gifts with his dad and stepmother.
"I'm just happy Braedence is back that they were able to find him," said Ryan.
Ferguson is being held on two warrants, including at least one for child abduction. Authorities say more charges are being considered against her and her boyfriend.
Police added anyone who assisted the pair could face charges as well.