A student who disappeared 12 years ago on a trip to China was actually kidnapped and taken to North Korea, where he serves as Kim Jong Un’s personal English teacher, reports Yahoo News Japan.
David Sneddon, a Utah native and Brigham Young University student, disappeared on August 14, 2004, while on a hike along the Jinsha River near Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan, China. Chinese authorities said that David, who was 24 at the time of his disappearance, probably fell into the river and drowned.
As it turns out, David did not die in a tragic hiking accident. For the past 12 years, David has been living in North Korea and working for the country’s young dictator.
Choi Sun-yong, head of the Abductees’ Family Union in South Korea, said that David was abducted and taken to North Korea to teach English to Kim. David is said to be married with a wife and children.
“That doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Kathleen Sneddon after hearing the news that her son is alive in North Korea. “We knew in our heart that he was alive, so we had to keep fighting,” Kathleen added.
As David’s body was never recovered, the official Chinese report never sat very well with the Sneddons, explained the Independent.
Kathleen and her husband Roy never stopped searching for their son. They launched a website and a Facebook page dedicated to sharing information. They knew that there was a much more plausible explanation for their son’s disappearance.
That explanation came in April 2011, when a high-level U.S. official called the Sneddons and confirmed their suspicions. The official told them, “I believe David may have been kidnapped by North Koreans,” reports Outside Magazine.
David’s father Roy said that reports of his son living in North Korea “strengthens the contention that what we have said from the beginning about David being in North Korea was in fact correct.”
North Korea has been systematically kidnapping foreign citizens for years. The Tokyo Shimbun discovered a decades-old manual in 2015 which teaches North Korean spies how to carry out abductions on foreign soil and evade capture by foreign governments. North Korea has allegedly kidnapped a large number of Japanese and South Korean citizens.
David was most likely kidnapped for his knowledge of English as a native speaker and his fluent Korean, which he developed while working in South Korea.
Earlier this year, two Republican members of Utah’s congressional delegation, Senator Mike Lee and Representative Chris Stewart, presented a resolution pushing the U.S. Department of State to investigate whether or not David was being held in North Korea. The resolution has not yet been passed.
“This may put some fire in Congress,” Kathleen told KUTV after hearing the reports of her son’s current whereabouts.
The U.S. Department of State, according to Desert News Utah, has announced that it will conduct an active search for David in North Korea.
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