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Missing Gwinnett boy found in Hall County
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A 10-year-old Gwinnett County boy reported missing on Monday was found at a family friend's house in Hall County Tuesday morning.

Mario Taddeo was reunited with his mother, and Gwinnett police were still questioning him Tuesday afternoon.

It's still not clear why Christopher Ray, 29, the family friend, did not let Mario's mother Gabriella Taddeo know where he was, said Gwinnett Police Department spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith.

After questioning, Ray was taken into custody by Hall County Sheriff's Office officials, and Gwinnett police charged him with interference with the custody of a minor.

"Their two stories differed ... and the boy is still being interviewed. The investigators are going through everything right now," Smith said around 4 p.m. Tuesday.

"At this point, he's told us enough that we will charge Ray. The investigation is ongoing."

Hall County sheriff's officials may also charge Ray, but that is still uncertain, Smith said.

Mario returned home from Alcovy Elementary School on Monday and then visited a friend in his Lawrenceville neighborhood.

Mario left his friend's house about 3 p.m. but never arrived home and was reported missing at 10:20 p.m.

On Monday night, police searched the neighborhood and nearby neighborhoods using a helicopter and K-9 units. He was found in Hall County at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Mario was spotted when officers checked several locations his mother named, including Ray's residence.

"He was fine. He walked out onto the front porch alone, stretched and walked back inside," Smith said, "So he was free to leave at any time. Then the officers approached him at the house."

Mario asked Ray to pick him up, Smith said, and described Ray as someone who looked after Mario and his brothers, "almost like an uncle."

"The two arranged this, so this is not kidnapping, but it does cross the line," Smith said. "He did not have permission, and the mother told him not to visit anymore."

A Gwinnett County Juvenile Court judge has temporarily given custody of Mario and his 12-year-old brother to the state. A Department of Family and Child Services investigation will be completed prior to their returning home.

 

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