Police began searching far and wide and even dredged a lake after it was reported that Chayson Basinio disappeared from a supermarket parking lot.
Detectives were prepared to inform relatives that the boy was gone for good when they realized something; he had never been there in the first place.
Basinio and his “father,” 20-year-old Rayane Basinio, only existed on Facebook.
"It [the inquiry] was long and complicated but we can now say that the young Chayson has never existed and nor have his father or mother,” public prosecutor Eric Mazaud told the Guardian.
"Sadly, this is a very modern-day story. Someone decided to create false Facebook accounts and took pictures from real accounts to feed the false accounts and make these people seem real.”
The woman who reported the boy missing, supposedly his great-aunt, is now in police custody and will likely be charged with inventing a crime.
"We don't know why someone decided to make a false report. We are currently trying to work out a motive. Either that person has a psychological problem, or there were other purposes behind it, such as revenge,” Mazaud said.