Father Finds Abducted Son After 22 Years of Desperate Searching

A Chinese man who has dedicated most of the last 22 years to trying to find his abducted son finally managed to find his son in a city 560 miles (900 kilometers) away.

On October 9, 2001, Lei Wuze left his home in Yueyang, Hunan Province without knowing that it would be the last time he would see his son for over two decades. The man left his 4-year-old boy, Yuechuan, playing under the supervision of one of his neighbors. The woman later told police that they had met a suspicious man on the street who had later laid a trap for the boy and abducted him when she wasn’t paying attention. Lei was devastated, but he never lost hope of one day seeing his boy again. He immediately embarked on long trips in and around Yueyang, holding pictures of his son and stopping people in traffic to ask if they had seen him. Years passed, but Lei Wuze persisted, and this year, his resilience finally paid off.

Over the 22 years he spent searching for his son, Lei Wuze became friends with other parents just as desperate to find their abducted children. Seeing many of them reunited with their offspring gave him hope that one day he too would get to hold Yuechuan in his arms again. Despite getting older and feeling more tired with each passing year, he never gave up. Instead, he only tried harder in recent years, even turning to experimental facial recognition technology.

During the last two decades of searching for his son, Lei Wuze met more than 300 policemen, some of whom were more helpful than others, and visited hundreds of cities across China, rushing there for the vaguest trace of Yuechuan’s whereabouts. He always returned home disappointed, until this year…

Lei Wuze’s saving grace came from a cutting-edge facial-recognition software dubbed “Face Recognition 2.0 Prototype” by the Chinese press. It was used by police to find likely matches using an aging model based on photos of Lei Yuechuan as a child. Earlier this year, Wuze was informed that his DNA perfectly matched that of a 26-year-old man in Shenzen, over 900 kilometers away from where Yuechuan had been taken. A second DNA test was conducted, and the match was confirmed.

Interestingly, Wuze had been to Shenzhen several times, on one occasion even staying a few kilometers from Yuechuan’s home, but he always returned home

After Yuechuan’s abduction, Lei Wuze and his wife had a daughter, but they never gave up on finding their son. On his deathbed, Wuze’s father asked him to bring the boy back home, and he dedicated his entire life to this goal. He posted leaflets all over China, went on TV shows and radio broadcasts, and was always active online. Lei estimates that he dedicated over 70 percent of his time during the last 22 years to finding Yuechuan.

Lei Wuze, who has been buying his son birthday presents every year, despite his absence, finally met 26-year-old Yuechan at the end of last month. It was a touching conclusion to a heartbreaking story spanning over two decades. It is unclear whether Yuechuan has any family of his own yet, and if he wants to come live with his biological family, but the simple fact that Lei finally found his long-lost son is sure to at least bring his family some much-needed closure.

A few years back, we featured the similar story of Wang Mingqing, another Chinese father who found his abducted daughter after a 24-year search.

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