In 2004, Brigham Young University student David Sneddon was visiting China when he disappeared. He hasn’t been seen since.
The 24-year-old was last seen hiking through Tiger Leaping Gorge in the country’s Yunnan Province. Since then, he’s been presumed dead by Chinese officials, who say he likely fell or drowned, but his family doesn’t buy that explanation because his body was never recovered. What they believe really happened to him is much stranger, especially considering that they’re convinced he’s still alive.
Before he went missing, Sneddon served a mission in South Korea for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Because he was able to speak in fluent Korean, his family thinks he was targeted and abducted in China by North Korean officials.
They also believe he was taken to teach English at the North Korean capital, possibly even to Kim Jong Un.
Even Choi Sung-yong, head of the Abductees’ Family Union, a Seoul-based advocacy group for South Korean abductees in North Korea, claimed last year to have knowledge of Sneddon being under surveillance and reported sightings of him in other areas. Sung-yong also said Sneddon now goes by the name Yoon Bong Soo, is married to a 37-year-old woman named Kim Eun Hye, and has two children.
The U.S. State Department has said they’ve gotten in contact with the Sneddons, but the family says that nobody within the Trump administration has contacted them about their son. Back in June, Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Chris Stewart sent a letter urging President Trump to look into North Korean involvement in Sneddon’s disappearance.
A State Department spokesperson for the East Asia and Pacific Bureau had this to say about Sneddon: “Thus far, we have not been able to verify any information suggesting that David Sneddon was abducted from China by North Korean officials or is alive in North Korea, but we will continue our efforts to search for any verifiable information.”