Parents Reunite With Son 32 Years After He Was Abducted, Thanks To Facial Recognition

Parents Reunite With Son 32 Years After He Was Abducted, Thanks To Facial Recognition

He was abducted in 1988 and later sold to a couple with no kids.

Image Source: Getty Images/Westend61

The one thing that parents fear the most is losing their beloved child in the midst of a crowd. The panic that engulfs the parents and the child when they can't find each other is just scary to even think of. Nearly three decades ago, a couple had to experience that sense of panic in a hotel in China after they couldn't find their son who was just two years old. He was abducted in the late '80s. On Monday, after 32 years, the parents were reunited with their son. This reunion brings one of the most notorious cases of a child missing to a happy end, reports People.


In 1988, Mao Yin, now 34, was on his way back home with his father from kindergarten when he said he was feeling thirsty. So, his father, Mao Zhenjing stopped at the entrance of a hotel to fetch his thirsty son some water, says mom Li Jingzhi according to the South China Morning Post. The older Mao briefly looked away and during that time, his son was abducted, to be later sold to a couple who had no children. According to BBC, the sale was made for the equivalent of $840 today.  After the heartbreaking incident, Li and Mao dedicated their lives to find their precious son. 


Li quit her full-time job and went on to become a familiar face on Chinese television as she pleaded with the public for any clues they might have about her son. Mao Ling, now grown up, said that he had seen Li pleading on national television, but at the time he did not know that she was his biological mother, adds CNN. The decades-long search finally came to an end and technology has to thank for it. In early May, the Xian police used facial recognition technology to analyze old photos of Mao and then created a simulated image of what Mao Ling might look like now.


Then, they compared that to the photos that were available in the national database and finally found Mao Ling. A DNA test confirmed that he was, in fact, Mao and Li's son, the one they lost 32-years-ago. He was reportedly living just 600 miles away from the distraught couple all this while, under the name Gu Ningning. May 10th is celebrated as Mother's Day in China and it was quite a special one for Li as that's when she learned that her son had been found. “This is the best gift I have ever got,” Li reportedly said after finding out the happy news. The family was reunited at a police news conference on Monday.


During the conference, the overjoyed parents were seen breaking down into tears as they pulled their son into a hug for the first time in 32 years. “I don’t want him to leave me anymore,” Li reportedly said. “I won’t let him leave me anymore.” Mao then assured that he would be moving back in with his parents so that he could spend more time with them. While Li was searching for her son, she started volunteering with  Baby Come Home, a popular platform used by parents to share missing child notices. Even though she still hadn't found her son, it is said that Li helped reunite nearly 29 children with their families and she intends to continue working with the group. 


Recommended for you