MADRID (AFP) - Ashya King, the five-year-old British boy with a brain tumour who was taken from hospital without medical consent, has been found in Spain with his parents, who have been arrested, the Spanish police said on Saturday.“Ashya King was found in a hotel 3km from de Velez Malaga (southern Spain) and was admitted to a hospital,” the National Police force wrote on its Twitter page. “His parents have been arrested.”
The British police also confirmed the missing family had been found. “Ashya has been found,” said an update on the website of the Hampshire Constabulary. “He is in Spain with his mum and dad.”
According to the statement, the police were speaking with Ashya’s parents and the boy’s condition was being assessed. “This is all we know at this time – but, he has been found,” it added. “Thank you to everyone who has been incredible in helping us spread this appeal.”
The police earlier issued a European arrest warrant for Brett King, 51, and Naghemeh King, 45, after they drove their son away from a hospital in Southampton in southern England on Thursday.Interpol launched a missing persons alert following a request from the British police, who led the search.“There are no winners in this situation. I’ve said all along that this must be a terribly distressing time for Ashya’s family and I stand by that now,” said Mr Chris Shead from Britain’s Hampshire police.He added that Ashya’s six brothers and sisters were also found safe in Spain.He said the warrant was based around “neglect” but added: “That does not necessarily mean they would be charged with that offence.“It purely gives us the power to arrest and then we’ll be able to speak to them.”
Ashya’s parents, who are Jehovah’s Witnesses, were seen boarding a ferry to Cherbourg in France after taking the boy.The Spanish police had said on Saturday they were looking for the missing child on the Costa del Sol.The family were said to have “strong links” to the Marbella area on the south coast and use of a house there.In a tweet, posted alongside a picture of the child and his mother apparently taken in a hospital, the Spanish authorities had earlier said they were looking in Malaga and Marbella “for a family from the UK. The parents are denying treatment to a child who needs it”.
The boy was being fed through a tube and the batteries on his feeding system would have expired, the British police had warned.The youngster has undergone extensive surgery and was last operated on nine days ago.Jehovah’s Witnesses are known for refusing blood transfusions on religious grounds, but are otherwise open to other medical procedures.The group said there was no indication that the boy’s parents had been motivated by religious convictions and appealed to them to seek the best medical treatment for him.It is not known why the couple took their son.On the Hampshire police’s Facebook page, one poster, Ms Katie Fletcher, wrote: “This is my mother’s friend, she has run away in desperation because they cannot accept that there is nothing that can be done for their son and want to look for help abroad.“Please don’t judge, they are a very sweet loving family and I can only believe they are doing this because they want to help their son.”
The boy’s paternal grandmother Patricia King said her son and his wife were “marvellous” parents.