A Chinese man was finally reunited with his son in late June after he was abducted from their neighborhood 22 years ago.
How did it happen: Lei Wuze reportedly left his son, Yuechuan, in the care of a neighbor in Yueyang, a city in China’s Hunan province, on Oct. 9, 2001. Lei’s neighbor reportedly told police that the young boy, who was playing at the time, was lured, trapped and abducted by a suspicious man while she was not paying attention.
The decades-long search begins: Soon after hearing the news, Lei immediately went out to find his son, an effort that lasted for 22 years.
During his tireless search, Lei reportedly met with over 300 officers, some of whom provided assistance and visited other cities. He even posted leaflets all over the country and appeared on television shows and radio stations hoping to find his long-lost son.
“As soon as I found someone suspected of being Yuechuan, I would rush over immediately, but I have been disappointed for 22 years,” said Lei, according to China News
A promise made: While Lei’s father was on his deathbed, he made him promise to bring back Yuechuan.
Even though Lei and his wife had a daughter after the abduction, the man never stopped looking for their lost son. He even made sure to buy him gifts on his birthdays despite not seeing him for over two decades.
Making friends: Lei reportedly made friends among a community of parents who also lost their children. Seeing some of them being reunited with their loved ones made the father hopeful that he could one day have the same reunion with Yuechuan.
Big development: Lei eventually received good news earlier this year when authorities confirmed to him after conducting two tests that his DNA matched with a 26-year-old man from Shenzhen, around 560 miles away. Lei noted that he had been to Shenzhen on several occasions in the past, even staying a few kilometers away from his son’s current home.
Authorities also used a new facial recognition technology that Chinese media dubbed “Face Recognition 2.0 Prototype,” which is used to create an aged model of a subject after scanning a picture of them as a child.
“This is the 7,916th day I have been looking for Yuechuan, and after 22 years, I finally found my son,” Lei was quoted saying.
Police are investigating alleged human traffickers for the abduction, according to Red Star news.
Planned reunion: Although Lei has not yet been officially reunited with his son, he has already begun planning a reunion banquet, and has even prepared two separate bedrooms for his son to choose from should he decide to return home.
Lei said he was able to see a picture of his now-adult son, who is reportedly 175 centimeters tall (5 feet, 8.9 inches), majored in marketing and has been living and working in Shenzhen for years.
According to Lei, he will continue to assist other families in locating their abducted children. “We all share the same experience, and I want everyone to believe that with the help of all parts of society, we can find our children,” said Lei.