Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

Dubai Police: Shopper who 'found' lost mall boy is one who abandoned him

Mystery of boy 'found outside Al Reef Mall' is solved by police

The identity of a five-year-old boy found near Al Reef Mall in Deira, near Salahuddin metro station, is still not known. Courtesy: Dubai Police
The identity of a five-year-old boy found near Al Reef Mall in Deira, near Salahuddin metro station, is still not known. Courtesy: Dubai Police

A boy found wandering alone outside a mall in Dubai was handed in by the woman who had been caring for him, police revealed on Thursday.

Dubai Police said the Filipina shopper who claimed to have found the boy outside Al Reef Mall in Deira on September 7 was actually his carer. Police said she had been given the boy by another woman, who had been looking after him for the past five years, after his biological mother – a friend – abandoned him two days after he was born.

Police have been trying to identify the boy for almost two weeks. His story gripped the country with many sharing his image in the hopes that his parents would claim him.

On Thursday, police revealed that an hour and a half after they posted the boy's story to social media to ask for the public's help, they received a call from a person who said they knew him and his mother.

“The caller said he had seen the child living with a woman in Sharjah,” said Brig Ali Ghanem, director of Al Muraqqabat Police Station, where the boy was temporarily cared for by female officers.

Police tracked down the woman and arrested her. During questioning, she said the boy was not her son but that she had been caring for him for the past five years.

She told police that the child’s mother left the country, leaving her son behind, after claiming she was going home for an urgent matter and would come back shortly but never did. The woman said she had been taking care of the boy since then and was unable to contact the mother or any of her relatives.

“When the boy turned five and needed to go to school and his needs became a financial burden, the woman asked a friend of hers for advice,” said Brig Al Ghanem.

She was advised to give the boy to another woman living in Al Butaina in Muraqqabat.

The woman in Butaina could not provide for the boy for long and, on a friend's suggestion, fabricated a story about finding the boy lost in the mall.

Four women – the two who cared for the boy and their respective friends – have been arrested. They had their DNA tested by police to confirm that none of them were the boy's mother.

Meanwhile, the boy underwent a medical check-up and has been taken to Dubai Foundation for Women and Children.

The identity and whereabouts of the boy’s father is unknown. When asked the name of his father, the boy answered: “Superman.”

Updated: September 19, 2019 04:06 PM

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