A college student mysteriously vanished back in 2004 while on a trip to China. Yet, after being presumed dead, the student’s family now has new signs of hope after a Japanese news agency has reported that the then-24-year-old was kidnapped by the North Korean government.
David Sneddon vanished in the Yunnan Province of western China. The student was enrolled at Bingham Young University, and police speculated the young man died while he was hiking in Tiger Leaping Gorge near the Jinsha River on August 14, 2004. However, authorities never recovered a body.
David Sneddon ‘Kidnapped By North Korea’ Parents Claim Despite Being Declared Dead in 2004: A US student who… https://t.co/UcmuPpbWJt
— ClickLing (@ClickLing_) September 2, 2016
This past week, new information was released by Yahoo News Japan, which reported that Sneddon had actually been spotted in North Korea, where he is now believed to live. The young man is said to be there working as an English teacher, and now has a wife and two children.
Upon learning of this new information, the U.S. Department of State made an announcement on Wednesday that they will begin searching for David Sneddon in North Korea. The Independent shares additional verification that Sneddon is alive and well in North Korea.
“Choi Sun-yong, who heads the Abductees’ Family Union, said a source revealed he had in fact been kidnapped by North Korean operatives, and worked as an English tutor for Kim Jong-un – who was heir to the country’s dictatorship at the time.”
David Sneddon’s parents, Roy and Kathleen Sneddon, shared that they never believed the speculation that their son had died falling into a river. The Sneddons always felt that the vanishing was the result of a kidnapping, seeing as North Korea has a reputation for kidnapping foreigners. They believed the Kim regime “sought out their son for his fluency in Korean.” David used his knowledge of the language during his time spent as a Mormon missionary in South Korea, which made him valuable to the regime.
Missing US student David Sneddon served as Kim Jong-un’s English tutorhttps://t.co/tAHPBLqwtY
— IBTimes UK (@IBTimesUK) September 2, 2016
The Sneddons never stopped campaigning for American officials to investigate the disappearance of their son over the past 12 years he has been missing.
Mrs. Sneddon spoke to Deseret News Utah on the matter.
“We just knew in our heart that he was alive, so we had to keep fighting.”
In addition to David’s parents urging for a further investigation, Utah representatives also pushed for Congress to conduct an investigation to truly determine as to whether the student was kidnapped by North Korea’s government. A representative for the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, Chris Stewart, spoke in a statement back in February.
“The evidence indicates that there are still a lot of unanswered questions about David’s disappearance. David’s family deserves answers to those questions, and until we find those answers, I will continue urging the State Department to pursue all possible explanations for David’s disappearance.”
U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby spoke about the ongoing monitoring of the situation and indicates that the embassy in Beijing has regularly been in contact with local authorities on the matter of discovering Sneddon’s whereabouts.
“The embassy in Beijing… has been in regular, ongoing contact with the local authorities since David Sneddon was reported missing… We continue to closely monitor this matter and we continue to raise it with Chinese authorities.”
CNN shares that members of the network have attempted to make contact with the embassy on a number of occasions, but all attempts of contact went unanswered.
Roy and Kathleen Sneddon are not giving up on their son and have constantly updated their website dedicated to finding David, based on new information that is uncovered.
“Our goal is to ensure that the US government does everything possible to investigate his likely abduction and secure his safe return to the US.”
[Image via Helpfinddavid.com]