SALT LAKE CITY — The parents of a missing Utah man have a new glimmer of hope about their son who disappeared in China 12 years ago.
A Japanese news article claims David Sneddon, a BYU student who went missing in China in 2004, has been seen in North Korea. The article, published on Yahoo Japan by the Japan News Network, cites sources saying Sneddon has a wife and two children and works as an English teacher, even tutoring North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Roy Sneddon, David’s father, said the article “strengthens the contention that what we have said from the beginning about David being in North Korea was in fact correct.”
Chinese authorities have said David Sneddon — who was 24 when he went missing — likely died while hiking. But his family says there’s no evidence of that. They have maintained their son was abducted by North Korea.
As for the details in the Japanese news article, David’s parents say they’re cautiously optimistic.
“Part of the article may be correct and part of it may be conjecture,” said Kathleen Sneddon, David’s mother. “We just don’t know.”
But his parents say it reinforces what they’ve uncovered. They hope it will put pressure on Congress and the State Department to get David back.
Resolutions in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate call for the government to investigate whether David Sneddon is in North Korea and work to get him back. Those resolutions haven’t passed yet.
Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) is sponsor of the House measure.
“Congressman Stewart is still pushing the resolution and is very hopeful it will be voted on before the end of the year in the House,” said Stewart’s spokeswoman Allison Barker.
“This may put some fire in Congress,” said Kathleen Sneddon, adding that she and her husband already heard from the office of one U.S. senator outside of Utah on Wednesday who wants to get the ball rolling on the David Sneddon case.
In the meantime, for the Sneddons, this is just another step in a road they hope will lead to their son coming home.
“I expect that, when all is said and done, we’ll have done as much as we can,” said Roy Sneddon, “but standing back we’ll say, it was a miracle. We’re glad that we saw it.”