A Chinese parent has been reunited with their son who was abducted 32 years ago when he was just two-years-old.
The toddler was kidnapped and sold to a childless family more than 1,000 kilometers from his home.
The man identified as Mao Yin was snatched on October 17, 1988. He and his father, Mao Zhenjing, were walking home from nursery in the city of Xian in Shaanxi province when the boy asked for a drink of water. The pair stopped at the entrance of a hotel, and when the father turned his back on the boy for only a few moments while trying to cool some hot water, Mao Yin was gone.
A search for the missing child began right away with posters going up and a report made to the police but he was never found.
Three decades went by before he was reunited with his biological parents who never gave up hope of finding him.
His mother, Li Jingzhi, quit her job and dedicated most of her time to following leads and putting up posters all over the country. She estimates that she handed out over 100,000 flyers and followed around 300 different leads, but a match was never found.
Undeterred, the family intensified their efforts and even appeared on television shows like The X Factor to ask people for help and Li even joined an organization called “Baby Come Back Home”, to help other parents look for their missing children.
Chinese media reports that she actually managed to reunite 29 families with their missing kids.
It took a tip from a man in Sichuan province to set the ball rolling in Mao Yin reuniting with his family.
The police received a tip-off from a man in Sichuan province, about 1,000km from Xian, who had adopted a toddler around the same time that Mao Yin went missing.
Using facial recognition technology, authorities analyzed an old photo of Mao as a boy and came up with a simulated image of him as an adult, comparing it to how the 34-year-old looked like. The likeness was close enough to prompt a DNA test, which proved that Li Jingzhi and Mao Zhenjing were his real parents.
Mao Yin was reunited with his excited parents during a public event orchestrated by the Xian police department.
“I don’t want him to leave me anymore. I won’t let him leave me anymore,” his mother said while holding his hand tightly.
Mao Yin who had been renamed Gu Ningning by his adoptive parents runs his own home decorations business. He told Chinese media that he doesn’t know what the future holds for him and his birth parents, but that he definitely wanted to spend time getting to know each other.
While the investigation into the boy’s 1988 abduction is still ongoing, police revealed that he had been sold to a childless couple for 6,000 yuan ($840) in today’s money.