A 5-year-old boy last seen in Massachusetts about two years ago was found 1,500 miles away in Orlando, Florida.
An anonymous tip sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on Tuesday helped Florida sheriffs locate the boy.
Police in Webster, Massachusetts, said Matthew Hale was kidnapped by his mother, Christina Hale, in 2016, first going from New York to her mother's home in Webster.
The child's father showed up in Webster in January 2017 and asked police for help.
"He was from New York. He had paperwork stating he had full custody of his child, and he wanted officers to go with him to keep the peace," Master Deputy Ingrid Tejada-Monforte said.
When they arrived on Emil Street, they came up empty-handed.
"When they went there, Christina and Matthew were not there," Tejada-Monforte said. "They learned she had left a few weeks prior."
Police filed a missing person's report, with posters featuring Matthew and his mother's pictures going up across the area.
Seven months later in July, the mother's car was found in Maine. That trail went cold, as the two eventually made their way to Florida to stay with a cousin, authorities said.
The anonymous tip led the Florida sheriffs to the home, where an arrest was made.
"She was located down in Florida with a relative, I assume, because it’s the same last name [Warren Hale], and she was taken into custody," Tejada-Monforte said. "Matthew was taken into custody of the Department of Children and Families, and they’re working on reuniting him with his father.”
The mother will face a charge of parental kidnapping in Webster, while Matthew's father gets a weight lifted off his shoulders.
“For the father, this is a good relief for him to know that his child is OK and is in good health," Tejada-Monforte said.
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