Haralson County Investigators say five people are in custody after authorities say they smuggled a Central American teen into the United States, then refused to hand him over to his mother in Georgia.
Haralson County Sheriffs Office Investigator Heather Mecillas told WLBB Radio that her office got involved in the case early Monday morning after a woman had called 911 to report her 16-year old son was being held against his will in a grey 2011 Toyota Sienna van.
The van was located later in Alabama and those inside are in custody.
(picture of authorities and suspected abduction van provided by Kevin Manning)
We have since learned that the woman had asked a group to bring her son here from Central America in exchange for money, Mecillas said. They agreed to meet at the Georgia Welcome Center in Haralson County. When they met, she did not have all of the money she had promised in exchange for bringing her son. The group said they would keep the boy until she could come up with the full sum, and they drove away.
Mecillas said the mother called 911 to report the incident. An Amber Alert was issued. Then, cancelled when the van was located and the boy was determined to be safe.
The woman who set up the meeting in Haralson County is suspected of illegally residing in the U.S. She lives outside of the west Georgia area.
The GBI is assisting with the investigation of this case.