A 12 year old boy vanished on June 18th, 2016 after telling his parents he was taking a bike ride near his home in canton Solothurn, Switzerland. When he didn’t return for dinner as planned, his parents alerted the police. According to the child’s classmates, he had been counting off the days until June 18th, saying that they wouldn’t see him after that.
His bicycle was found in a neighbouring town on June 21st. The Swiss authorities tipped off their German colleagues that a man in Düsseldorf possibly was behind the child’s disappearance and a special police unit stormed his apartment.
A week after his disappearance the boy was found safe at the home of a 35-year-old man in Düsseldorf, Germany. Police said the boy appeared physically unharmed. The two met online while playing an internet game. The man, a German citizen, was arrested.
Swiss AMBER Alert
Even though Switzerland has an AMBER Alert system in place, the police decided not to activate it. According to the Swiss police, they made this decision because initially there were no indications that the boy was kidnapped or in danger. When more details about the case started trickling in, pictures of the boy had already been circulating in the media, so the police felt activating an alert wasn’t going to make a difference anymore.