Boy kidnapped 26 years ago is rescued from neighbor’s cellar close to the victim's family home

Thursday, May 16, 2024 - A teenager who went missing in 1998 was found alive over the weekend in the cellar of his alleged kidnapper’s home, just 300 feet from his family’s residence in Algeria.

Omar Bin Omran went missing on his way to vocational school about 26 years ago, according to Algerian media reports.

Omar, now 45 and with a beard, was rescued Sunday, May 12, from the house of his captor.

He was saved from the basement below his neighbor’s hay-covered floor in some sort of sheep pen, a video showing the confused-looking detainee posted on social media shows.

His accused captor, a 61-year-old man who lived alone, was taken into custody, according to the Djelfa Attorney General’s Office.

Investigators were reportedly tipped off by the victim’s family after the suspect’s brother suggested his sibling was involved in the kidnapping in a social media post while the pair were fighting over inheritance.

The National Gendarmerie then re-opened the investigation and searched the man’s home until they discovered a trapdoor hidden underneath hay on the floor. They found Omar behind the door, the prosecutors said.

Omar was taken to a medical center for treatment — both physical and psychological, while the unnamed suspect will go to trial for the “heinous crime,” the attorney general’s office said.

The teen’s alleged abductor has also been accused of killing his dog — seen in photos with him the year he went missing, according to Algerian news reports.

The dog lingered around the suspect’s home for a whole month after Omar disappeared. Shortly after, the dog’s body was left in front of Omar’s family’s home — and was believed to have been poisoned.

Sadly, Omar’s mother, who never stopped looking for her missing son — one of her nine children — died in 2013, his uncle told Algerian media.

While other family members believed he was killed during the country’s civil war during the 1990s and early 2000s, his mother felt in her heart that he was still alive.

Her last wish was; “Please, do not stop searching for Omar. I am sure he is still alive,” according to the reports.

The victim reportedly told family members that he would sometimes see them walking by through a window in his abductor’s home, but was unable to speak or call out to them — like he was under some kind of spell, according to Algerian news articles.

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