17-Year-Old Chinese Foreign Exchange Student Allegedly Abducted In Utah


Hailey Gomez General Assignment Reporter
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Utah police are looking for a 17-year-old Chinese foreign exchange student after he was allegedly abducted, according to authorities.

Riverdale Police Chief Casey Warren identified the missing exchange student as Kai Zhuang Friday during a press conference, stating that authorities believe he potentially could be held against his will after his parents were given a ransom letter. 

Warren stated that Zhuang was last seen around 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, and by Friday the exchange student was officially declared missing with authorities issuing an endangered missing person alert. An Amber Alert was attempted to be issued as well, however, Warren stated that since there was no suspect identified one could not be issued. (RELATED: Video Allegedly Shows Samuel Haskell Jr. Discarding Large Object In Dumpster, Possibly Connected To Recovered Torso)

Zhuang is described to be roughly 5-foot-10 and around 170 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes, according to KSL TV-5. Authorities additionally stated that the student speaks broken English.

“At this point, the information we have is very limited,” Warren said.

The student’s parents had allegedly called Zhuang’s high school after they claimed they received a photo of the student with a ransom letter, authorities stated. The student’s high school then notified the police department and Zhuang’s host family who was allegedly “unaware” that the teen had been missing. (RELATED: Neighbors Heard Screams For Help Weeks Before Missing Man’s Body Was Found Stuck In Chimney, Police Say)

“The parents reported to school officials that they received a photograph of their child that would indicate he was abducted and they requested a ransom. Officers responded to the residence of the foreign exchange student who was staying with the host family here in Riverdale. The host family was unaware that the juvenile was missing from the home and they reported seeing him the night before and hearing him in the early morning hours,” Warren stated. 

Authorities continued to note that there was no evidence suggesting Zhuang was forcibly taken from his host home in Riverdale, Utah.

Riverdale police are continuing to work with the FBI, the U.S. Embassy in China, as well as Chinese officials to hopefully bring the missing student back home, according to USA Today.