The cops, after using “the newest comparison and search methods” confirmed that the 26-year-old man, who some local news reports said was working as a teacher, was the one abducted 24 years ago.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on August 27, 2021. It has since been updated.
Grief comes in all shapes and sizes, but nothing can measure up to the sorrow that parents experience when they lose a child. No, this is not about death, because with that, at least there's a sense of closure, even though the pain of losing a loved one is still overpowering. This is about Guo Xinzhen, 26, who was abducted when he was just a 2-year-old boy. On September 21, 1997, Guo, who was playing at home while his mother cooked, was abducted by an unknown woman. The worried parents immediately gathered neighbors and friends to look for their missing child but in vain. Authorities did everything in their power at the time, including collecting blood, DNA samples, and other evidence. However, due to the limitations they had, the case remained unsolved, but it was never closed. They investigated it for 24 years, reports CNN.
During the 24 years that Guo was missing, his dad, Gangtang, never gave up on looking for him. The determined father embarked on a search all over China to find his beloved son, riding a motorbike through nearly all of the vast country's provinces. He attached large banners printed with his son’s photo to the back of a motorcycle and set out to find the boy on his own. “Son, where are you?” the banners said, alongside an image of the boy in a puffy orange jacket. “Dad is looking for you to come home.”
The father's efforts to find his beloved son were so extensive that he wore out 10 bikes during the period of 24 years and even raked up debts, but he never stopped looking for Guo. “If I’m at home, the human trafficker is not going to deliver him back to me,” he said in a 2015 interview with state television.
However, the search for their beloved son has finally come to an end after more than two decades, as the police reunited Guo with his family.
Police in Liaocheng City, Shandong province, said they had found a now-adult Guo living in neighboring Henan province, and they took him to his parents. The cops, after using “the newest comparison and search methods” confirmed that the 26-year-old man, who some local news reports said was working as a teacher, was Gangtang's son.
Guo Xinzhen was abducted in eastern China in 1997 when he was only 2 years old. Now, after a non-stop search by his parents that lasted 24 years, he has been found and reunited with his family. https://t.co/gEhZuiCINd— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) July 14, 2021
Video footage of the reunion released by cops shows a tearful reunion, with the family embracing each other tightly. “My darling, my darling, my darling,” Guo Gangtang's wife, Zhang Wenge, sobbed as she embraced the young man, reports The New York Times. “We found you, my son, my son.”
“He’s been delivered into your hands, so you need to love him well,” Gangtang told his wife, as he tried to control his wife's emotions while wiping away tears of his own.
The heart-wrenching story of a father searching for his son led to the creation of the 2015 film Lost and Love, starring renowned Hong Kong actor Andy Lau.
Two people have been arrested with connection to Guo's kidnapping in 1997, states police. They have reportedly confessed to trafficking the victim, as well. Authorities revealed that a woman surnamed Tang and a man surnamed Hu have been arrested. The woman admitted to kidnapping the child and met up with Hu, and the then-couple took a bus back to Henan, where they sold the child. It is unclear as to whom they sold Guo to.
Child abduction and trafficking have long been a problem in China. Many parents never get to see their children again, and activists and experts believe one reason for the problem is because of China's one-child policy, which has been relaxed in recent years. In May, the government announced it would begin allowing couples to have up to three children.
Cover Image Source: YouTube/ South China Morning Post