Despite David Sneddon having been declared dead after disappearing while hiking in China, his body was never recovered.
Twelve years later, it is suspected that Sneddon might have been abducted by North Korea.
The 24-year-old American was last seen near the Tiger Leaping Gorge trail on August 14, 2004. When he didn't show up to meet his brother at the Seoul airport 12 days later, his entire family became suspicious. Sneddon's parents never gave up hope that their son was still alive, even after Chinese police declared his disappearance a fatal hiking incident.
Recently, though, a possible sighting near the same location he was last seen alive has re-sparked interest in his case.
The area where Sneddon went missing was known to be a spot where North Korean escapees entered into China.
"We initially thought that China had picked David up thinking he was involved in the underground railroad, because a former companion of his had been teaching a North Korean family in Beijing," Sneddon's father Roy told the Daily Mail.
It is now believed that because of his fluency in Korean, Sneddon was abducted by North Korea to serve as an English tutor for the heir to the communist dynasty, Kim Jong Un.
In 2011, the Sneddon family was contacted by a member of The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea. The man invited the family to come to Washington, D.C., to speak with Japanese residents that had once been abducted by North Korea. After speaking about their son's disappearance on a national talk show, the Sneddons received a surprising phone call.
Roy spoke with a U.S. citizen living in Seoul who described having seen a man resembling his son. The man was teaching English near the capital of Pyongyang, and is believed to be married with two kids.
As the case became more prominent in the media, it also picked up steam with two Republican politicians from Congress. Representative Chris Stewart and Senator Mike Lee, both of Utah, presented a joint resolution calling for action to find out what happened to Sneddon.
As the resolution has gained traction, it only requires three more cosponsors from the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee and five more cosponsors in total to bring the issue to a vote.
While we await a decision from Congress, you can find out more about the case here.
Could you imagine if he came home after all these years? His family would be so happy!