The family of a missing college student say they believe he was abducted and taken to North Korea.
When David Sneddon vanished in China in 2004, his family was told he had fallen into a gorge while hiking. Almost immediately, Sneddon's parents started to question the official story. Their son's body was never found, and the more questions they asked about his disappearance the more conflicting answers they received.
Now, 12 years on, they believe he may have been kidnapped and taken to North Korea. Sneddon, a 24-year-old college student, had worked as a missionary in South Korea and spoke Korean fluently. That's why Sneddon's parents suspect he was taken to North Korea: to teach English.
A trip along the hiking trail in China where Sneddon vanished only strengthened their belief that he was alive. A guide recognized Sneddon's picture, and said he survived the trail. Others remembered meeting Sneddon after he finished his hiking trip. The family also insists that Sneddon, an experienced hiker, would have had no trouble.
Now, sightings of Sneddon living in North Korea have given his family hope that they can be reunited...
Over the years, small pieces of news from North Korea have inspired the Sneddon family to continue their search.
Last month, their patience was rewarded when a reporter for Yahoo News Japan claimed to have met Sneddon in North Korea, saying that he was now an English teacher with a wife and two children. The head of a group representing the families of kidnapping victims in South Korea has an even more shocking claim.
Choi Sun-yong, who represents South Korea's Abductee's Family Union, says she was told that Sneddon was an English tutor to Kim Jong-un, North Korea's dictator. These reports led the U.S. State Department to re-open Sneddon's case last month. Hundreds of South Korean families say their relatives were also abducted and taken to North Korea.
"We just knew in our heart that he was alive, so we had to keep fighting," Sneddon's mother Katherine told a local newspaper. While abducting foreign citizens to be language teachers seems strange, in 2002 North Korea admitted to kidnapping 13 Japanese citizens to become Japanese tutors.
You can learn more about David's case at his family's website.
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