The teen, only identified as Marvin, was discovered inside the cabinet on Friday as authorities searched the Recklinghausen home of a man suspected of distributing child pornography.
He was dressed in the same clothes he wore on the day of his disappearance — and looked like “a broken old man,” his mother, Manuela B., told the German outlet Bild.
Police in the western German city said they had no indication that the boy was being held against his will.
But Manuela told the outlet she doubts her son was there of his own free will.
“The man whose place they found him at must have manipulated him,” she said. “I could go crazy thinking about what’s been done to him.”
The 44-year-old resident of the apartment was taken into custody on suspicion of carrying out serious sexual crimes, Deutsche Welle reported. Various electronic devices were also seized.
The man’s 77-year-old father was arrested but later released, according to the report.
Marvin, who was 13 at the time of his disappearance, was living in a care home for young people, after struggling to process the death of his father. Social workers there reported him missing in June 2017.
Marvin is currently in psychiatric care.
“He now needs to process what’s happened over the past two-and-a-half years,” his mom told Bild. “This is all so painful.”
In the meantime, his mother plans to visit him for Christmas — and has a gift in mind.
“I want to give him new clothes,” she said.
With Post wires