French police searching for a 2-year-old boy who reportedly disappeared from a supermarket parking lot have determined the boy only ever existed on social media.
A woman claiming to be the boy’s great-aunt reported him missing on Friday, saying she last saw Chayson Basinio near a supermarket and thought he may have been kidnapped. She also told police the boy’s father, Rayane Basinio, 20, was separated from the boy’s mother and that she had no idea where they were, according to the Guardian.
Detectives searched for the boy, who could be seen in photos on what the woman said was his father’s Facebook page, and even dredged a lake in case he had drowned. They eventually became suspicious of inconsistencies in the woman’s story and took her into custody after finding no evidence that the family existed outside of Facebook.
“It (the investigation) was long and complicated but we can now say that the young Chayson has never existed and nor have his father or mother,” Eric Mazaud, the public prosecutor, told the Guardian.
Police said the woman’s teenage daughter and a cousin are believed to have set up the fake Facebook accounts using photos from elsewhere online.
The woman, who has not been named, faces up to six months in prison and a $10,370 fine if convicted of inventing the crime.