32 Years After Kidnapping- Son Is Reunited With Parents Thanks To Facial Recognition Technology

Published on 06/30/2020
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Being a parent is often considered to be one of the most challenging but obviously the most rewarding jobs in the world. But no matter how tough or exhausting your days may be, there’s nothing better than coming home to see your children. Unfortunately one day, this was not the case for a young Chinese couple- it all soon become their biggest nightmare. But they refused to give up hope. Authorities had been investigating this mysterious incident that took place in the Chinese city of Xi’an, one of China’s largest cities. This case was known as the country’s most notorious for nearly 32 years. How was it possible for a 2-year old toddler to disappear without a trace?

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32 Years After Kidnapping- Son Is Reunited With Parents Thanks To Facial Recognition Technology

Long Lost Child

A person’s disappearance often leaves many unanswered questions especially if there are no explanations or valid reasoning. Parents, Li Jingzhi and Mao Zhenping thought they had lost the most precious thing in their lives. Little did they know that with the help of modern technology they would eventually be reconnected with their long lost son.

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Long Lost Child

A Strange Mystery

Mao, the son of Li Jingzhi and Mao Zhenping left millions of people not only in China but all around the world totally stunned and confused when he disappeared. How was it possible for a young boy to suddenly vanish? Where could he have gone to? Was he abducted or did he simply wander off from his father during peak hour? This was definitely one strange mystery which seemed like it was unable to be solved…

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A Strange Mystery

Unanswered

The couple along with their family and friends had begun actively searching wherever they could. They went from door to door all around their neighborhood as well as nearby the hotel where Mao had gone missing. They put up posters and handed out flyers in many nearby cities, as they were so desperate to not only to get some answers but to also find their son. Regrettably, their searches were unsuccessful.  If the truth be told, this story is somewhat very similar to a complicated thriller. So many questions had been left unanswered for over three decades.

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Unanswered

An Ordinary Day

Back in 1988, Mao Yin was a young two-year-old toddler who was walking home from kindergarten with his father. Unbeknown to his father, this would be a day he would never forget. It was a regular summer day, temperatures were scorching so as they walked passed a hotel, Mao Yin’s father stopped to get him a bottle of water before they continued their journey home. How was Mao Zhenjing supposed to guess that it would be the last time he saw his son?

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An Ordinary Day

Parent’s Priority

Being a parent to two children is often considered to be one of the hardest jobs in the world, but obviously the most rewarding as well. Taking care of young kids comes with a huge responsibility. Especially when raising them in a bustling, roaring city, which is often extremely busy and crowded with tons of people. As a parent, your children’s safety is always your number one priority, so how would you feel if something were to happen to one of your children?

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Parent’s Priority

In A Blink Of An Eye

As the young child’s father, Mao Zhenjing briefly looked away for a few short seconds, simply to get his son a bottle of water, the absolute worst and most unexpected thing happened. It was from this second that the family’s lives had been crushed into a million pieces. Mao tried to think positively and was certain all was going to be okay…

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In A Blink Of An Eye

Trying Not To Panic

Mao Zhenjing did not panic at first,  as some of the locals were familiar with the family, he was confident that his son was somewhere nearby. He searched the area, calling out ‘Mao Yin’ as loud as he could. It was not like Mao Yin to wander off, he always stayed close to his parents especially when they were out in public. The emotions and thoughts running through his mind were all too extreme for him. How could he have let this happen?

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Trying Not To Panic

Completely Devasted

After many hours of unsuccessful searching, Mao Zhenjing rushed home. His wife, Li was on a business trip for a few days and he had no way of giving her the news until she arrived home. As soon as Li came home, Mao was waiting at the door for her to give her the bad news. Li Jingzhi asked her husband, “how could he just disappear”? She was in total disbelief, and in front of her husband’s eyes she fainted from what she had just heard. She was completely devastated.

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Completely Devasted

Many Sleepless Nights

After many sleepless nights, the couple was still in complete shock that their adorable little boy was not with them any longer. Eventually, one evening the police arrived at the family home with the most dreadful news. It was definitely not what they were expecting at all. The police soon informed the family that they, unfortunately, were not able to locate their son. They went on to say that he may have just become a number, along with all the other missing children.

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Many Sleepless Nights

Huge Mistake

Li Jingzhi and Mao Zhenping were completely astounded, they were absolutely certain it was a huge mistake. Perhaps the police had confused their son with another toddler. But indeed this was the real truth. Mao’s parents were determined to find their son, they were going to do whatever it took. For many years they dedicated their lives to be reunited with Mao. They both said that they were never going to give up.

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Huge Mistake

Determination & Dedication

Nearly three decades had passed and Mao’s parents had followed 300 false leads. Mao Zhenping had taken full responobicilby for what had happened to their son and continuously blamed himself for However, that never stopped them from continuing their difficult search for their son…they knew he was somewhere. The question was where?

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Determination & Dedication

Could It Be Real?

At the beginning of 2020, Li Jingzhi and Mao Zhenping received a call from the Xi’an police during the early hours one evening. They were taken by surprise and didn’t quite understand what they would be calling for. As soon as she heard what the important message was, Li automatically burst into tears she could not believe what she was hearing. She even called her husband to the phone as she thought she was dreaming…what could it have been?

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Could It Be Real?

Gratitude & Appreciation

Indeed, it was all real. Through the help of both investigation experts as well as the police, they quickly informed Li Jingzhi and Mao Zhenping about the exciting news…that they had in fact located their dear son, Mao. Naturally, they over the moon with the news they had just received and obviously wanted to see him as soon as they could. Even though they were ecstatic, they still wanted to know how they eventually managed to find their darling son after all this time? They both had so many questions running through their minds, but Mao and Li still felt a surge of gratitude and appreciation.

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Gratitude & Appreciation

Tipped Off

They continued to explain to Li that in actual fact, the police in Xi’an were initially tipped off that a man living in one of the neighboring states had indeed bought a young boy during the late 1980s. And the young boy, was there own son, Mao and he was situated just 600 miles from their home- meaning that he has been living in China for the entire 32 years that he had been missing. But that’s not all, the story gets more interesting…

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Tipped Off

Series Of Investigations

A replicated image of what Mao may look like today was created. Specialists then proceeded to take photography from the National Chinese Database, this was then compared to the simulated images that had been produced. This was obviously all accomplished through an intense series of investigations. The results were instantaneously confirmed….how incredible?

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Series Of Investigations

Reunited At Last

The intense search finally came to a heartwarming end at the beginning of 2020. Was it all because of fate or was it thanks to a brilliant, cutting edge technology? Xi’an police were the ones that brought the family back together over an exhausting 32 years. They went ahead and organized a reunion for Mao and his parents. The emotions were high and tears could be seen everywhere, even from the media personnel standing by to get a good snap. The actual reunion was scheduled for Mother’s Day, which could not have been a more day for the family to be together after all these dreadful years apart. Li reported, “this is the best gift I have ever received”.

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Reunited At Last

Hearts’ Full Of Joy

During the reunion, the overjoyed and ecstatic parents broke down in tears as soon as their son came rushing through the door. They all could not believe their eyes, it was the first time in 32 years that they were all able to hug each other. Li Jingzhi and Mao Zhenping’s hearts were overflowing with so much joy, they finally had their on lost son in their arms. But, the big question still remains…what exactly happened to Mao and where had he been for all these years?

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Hearts Full Of Joy

What happened?

Like so many stories, there are always so many questions! So, it turns out that on the day that Mao was with his father outside of the hotel in Xi’an city, he was without a doubt abducted within seconds of his father turning his head. Mao was then immediately sold for approximately $845 to a couple for without children in one of the neighboring states. The couple raised Mao has their own child and he was completely unaware of anything that happened to him.

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What happened?

New Beginning

Mao’s adoptive parents had renamed him straight away, he went by the name of Gu Ningning. As he was so young at the time of this ordeal, he would have no recollection of his biological parents or anything from his “old life”. As Mao was growing up, he never in any way felt that it was different or didn’t belong to his adoptive parents.

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New Beginning

Was It A Coincidence?

During the reunion, Mao said that while he was growing up he often used to see Li( his biological mother) on TV. He continued to say that she was a frequent face on Chinese TV, she was often seen pleading for all the help she could get. She would always request assistance from both authorities and the public to help her find her son. But, little did Mao know that he was the son in question and the boy she had been tirelessly searching for.

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Was It A Coincidence?

Quality Time

Mao added that he was looking very forward to spending quality time with his family and especially his parents. They are both delighted to catch up on all the years they have been forced to spend art. Mao also plans to move back to Xi’an as he really wants to be as close as possible to his beloved parents. Mom, Li could not able to contain her excitement and her tears were only tears of joy. She added, “Hope is what motivates me…people should never lose hope. I believe someday I will finally find my son”.

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Quality Time

‘Baby Come Home’

During 2017, Li became an active volunteer at one of the biggest non-governmental organizations called “Baby Come Home”. This is an extraordinary initiative that helps crackdown kidnapped children, just like Li’s own son. By volunteering, she has reportedly helped 29 families reunite with their missing children while desperately yearning to find her own. In many of these sad situations, families are not as lucky as Li was to be reunited with their lost children, which is why for so many reasons Mao is considered to be a huge miracle.

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‘Baby Come Home

Unfortunate Statics

At the beginning of the early 1908’s child-trafficking and kidnapping became a huge occurrence in China. This was mainly because of the cruel ‘one-child rule’ that was enforced. Therefore there was a massive demand for kidnapped babies, especially young boys. Although many searchers are still underway, not many families are as lucky as Li and Mao. Whether children are kidnapped and sold to childless families or orphanages, this is still a common occurrence even today. Mao is blessed that he is no longer a statistic but is now happily reunited with his loving family.

 

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Unfortunate Statics

Missing Childen In China

For several decades, hold abduction and kidnapping across China has been a huge problem. There are approximately 70 000 children that are reported each year in China, however, authorities assume that as many as 10 000 cases are not reported to authorities. Why? Well, that question is yet to be answered. The sad truth is that many of the missing children are abducted and then sold to people overseas. Very similar to what happened to Mao Yin.

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Missing Childen In China

Extremely Tough Job

Kidnapping and child abduction is an issue that has been heavily studied and discussed by many experts and professionals not only in China but across the world as well. Even though stricter laws have been implemented since the 1990s, Chinese investigators still have an extremely tough job when it comes to solving these mysteries. Another paradox about these situations is that most of the abductors were actually female. Further studies have suggested that kidnapping is one of the most common crimes in China.

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Extremely Tough Job

Harsher Punishments

It has been further stated that child abduction within China is a well-organized business across the country and is often conducted with successful results. Unfortunately, it is a business that is continuing to grow and it seems as though no end is in sight, at least not in the near future. Of course, kidnapping is illegal in China, but it seems as though the law nor the penalties do not appear to scare criminals. Perhaps harsher punishments need to be implemented, as well as the attempt to combat child and woman abductions.

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Harsher Punishments

Traditional Chinese Beliefs

The painful struggle to search for China’s missing children has been ongoing but in more recent years appears to be increasing. A lof the problems related to child abduction seems to be connected to traditional Chinese beliefs and customs. Part of the Chinese culture explains that people with many children could “donate” of their own to relatives who are childless families. This usually happened in the villages across China and there was a higher demand for male children, although it is not uncommon for girls to be abducted as well.

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Traditional Chinese Beliefs

Kang Ying

Take a look at this unbelievable story that took place during 1994. At the time of her disappearance, which was approximately 26 years ago Kang Ying suddenly vanished after she went wandering into the streets from her parent’s fruit stall in the city. She does not remember too much about that horrific day, but she was old enough to know that what was happening to her was not right.

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Kang Ying

Taxi Driver

Throughout the years following the awful day, her parents Wang Mingqing and Liu Chengying did absolutely everything they could to try to trace their daughter. Just like Mao’s parents, Li Jingzhi and  Mao Zhenjing never gave up hope and dedicated their entire lives in the hope of finding their dear young daughter. Kang’s father even went as far as becoming a taxi driver in the anticipation of one day picking up his own daughter as a passenger. Best grab your tissues, there’s more to come…

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Taxi Driver

The Search Continues

Kang Ying was only three years old at the time. Her parents never stopped searching for her, they would visit all the neighboring cities and all the surrounding areas. They posted as many advertisements as they could in newspapers as well as on the internet. Wang Mingqing and Liu Chengying continuously appealed to anyone and everyone for their help. They were so certain that one day they would be reunited with their daughter.

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The Search Continues

Turning To A Sketch Artist

It was not until the end of 2017 that a professional police sketch artist learned about Wang Mingqing’s initiative to find his missing daughter and decided that he would help sketch a drawing of what Kang may look like as an adult today. He used some of the facial features of the couple as well as a photo of Kang’s sister. The two remarkable images that he had completed began circulating the internet so quickly and was a huge help with what happened next…

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Turning To A Sketch Artist

Completely Shocked

A few thousand miles away on the other side of the country, Kang Ying had absolutely no idea about any of this. From when she was very young her “father” always told her that she was adopted. They had raised her, her whole life but she still always wondered who her real parents were. So when she took a closer look at the image that was popping up everywhere, she was absolutely shocked…

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Completely Shocked

Identical Traits

Her adoptive family had already told her that she eas found on the side of the road, which is why they decided to take her in and care for her as their own. But as soon as she saw this image that was so similar to what she looked like, she decided to contact Mr. Wang Mingqing. After the two of them began talking they soon realized that she and his missing daughter had identical traits, including a small scar on her forehead and a bizarre tendency to feel nauseated when she cried.

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Identical Traits

DNA Test

They both immediately arranged to have a DNA test and miraculously the results were….positive. It was truly amazing – Wang Mingqing and Liu Chengying had finally found their long lost child. The news that the couple would soon be reunited with their daughter after 26 years spread so fast and took China by storm. But the one question that still remains is what exactly happened to Kang when she suddenly vanished without a trace.

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DNA Test

Very Mistaken

So the story goes like this, Kang Ying was with her parents in their fruit stall when her father needed to go get change from a nearby vendor. Wang trusted that his daughter would still be there after he returned just a few short minutes, but he was very much mistaken. His precious daughter had gone missing. She was instantly sold to a single man in a village.

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Very Mistaken

A Happy Childhood

Unfortunately, when Kang was 10 years old her adoptive father drowned but she was then taken care of by his relatives who gave her a very happy childhood. Kang later said, “even though my father passed away, I was taken care of very well and always felt like a part of the family – despite being told that I was adopted”.  There was a planned reunion for Kang and her parents.

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A Happy Childhood

Hugs & Tears

On the day of the reunion, Kang Ying’s father, Wang Mingqing burst into tears while he shouted, “Its all my fault”. While hugging his daughter he also continued to say, “From now on, Dad is here – you don’t need to worry about anything – Dad will help you”.

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Hugs & Tears

No Longer Without A Mother

Kang Ying flew to Chengdu along with her husband and children, especially for this special reunion. The moment Kang saw her biological mother she burst into tears saying, “I always knew I had a mother, I’m not motherless.  The whole world kept telling me I never had a mother, but now I do. I really need time to absorb the change. Everything’s happened so fast. It’s like the people in my dreams have walked into reality and are standing in front of me,”

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No Longer Without A Mother

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