Missing Georgia teen found in New York was lured by online predator, police say
DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. - Jahon Fuller will be reunited with his family one week after he disappeared from their residence in Douglasville.
His mother, Lashawnda Collins, told FOX 5 FBI investigators discovered her son hiding in a closet of a residence in Eastchester, New York on Tuesday.
"Oh my God I couldn't believe it. I was like, ‘In New York?’" said Collins.
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Detectives tracked him down through an Instagram message he sent his brother after he went missing. His parents say the 16-year-old has autism and the mental capacity of a 10-year-old. The teen slipped out of his house the morning of October 27. His parents feared he'd been lured away by someone he met online while playing video games on his PlayStation.
Douglas County Sheriff's Capt. Trent Wilson said that's exactly what happened.
"Through the investigation we found out he met someone on the game system," said Wilson, "and that person came from New York to get him and take him back to New York with him."
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Investigators with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office say that man, 26-year old Mark Valente, is behind bars in New York, awaiting extradition to Georgia to face charges in connection with Jahon's disappearance.
His mother says the suspect somehow managed to develop an online relationship with her son even though she monitors Jahon's online activity, and urged other parents to remain vigilant.