JOHOR BARU - The 16-year-old boy who reportedly went missing after entering Villa Nabila, an abandoned bungalow here listed as one of the top five spookiest places in the country, has been found.
Police said he was found in a friend's house in Taman Mutiara here around early Tuesday.
Johor police chief Senior Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff said Mohammad Izzat Izzuddin was found with his girlfriend of the same age.
He said that after receiving a missing person's report from the boy's mother on Saturday, police engaged in a manhunt under Ops Kesan to search for Mohammad Izzat.
"He is still under our custody and we have recorded his and his girlfriend's statements.
"They will be handed over to their respective families soon," he said in a press conference at the state police headquarters here Tuesday.
He said police have contacted the families and the duo would return home later Tuesday.
"The Villa Nabila mystery has been solved. No spirits held him, we found him healthy and well," he added.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Izzat's mother Norhayati Mohamad, 39, expressed her relief that he had been found.
"I am relieved because I truly believed that some unearthly being had taken him," she said when contacted.
Norhayati said she managed to speak to her son briefly and he told her he had forgotten to inform her of his whereabouts.
"He has never gone missing like this before but right now, I am just relieved."
It was reported on social media networks earlier that a teenage boy was missing after he was seen entering the derelict building in Danga Bay here Saturday, and that a group of 23 children were also missing.
Police, however, denied the latter report.
US-based travel portal Expedia recently listed Danga Bay as among the five most haunted places in Malaysia due to the location of Villa Nabila.
The bungalow is perched on a hill that overlooks the Straits of Johor.
There are several versions of how the 40-year-old building earned its reputation, including one about murder in a wealthy Caucasian family that once lived there.
Another version tells of how the maid killed the family, including a daughter named Nabila, and buried their bodies in the compound.
Yet another tale is that the family was killed by two hit men, hired by a relative due to greed.