JUST IN: American parents claim N. Korea kidnapped their son

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The parents of an American college student who disappeared in China in 2004 claim that their son was kidnapped by North Korea to teach English and is currently alive in the hostile country.

Roy and Kathleen Sneddon told Fox News this week that their son, David Sneddon, a 24-year-old student at Brigham Young University, was last seen in August 2004 hiking in China’s Yunnan Province.

The Sneddons, along with sources inside Japan and South Korea, believe David Sneddon—a devout Mormon fluent in Korean who would be 37 now—was abducted by agents of North Korea and forced to work as an English tutor, possibly to Kim Jong Un, the nation’s dictator.

“We want him home,” Sneddon’s mother, Kathleen, told Fox News.

“David was taken for a purpose, to help with English. We will never stop looking for him,” said Sneddon and husband Roy Monday from their home in Logan, Utah

According to the Chinese government, Sneddon, an experienced traveler who had served as a missionary in South Korea, fell to his death while hiking through Tiger Leaping Gorge and drowned. His body was never recovered. Sneddon’s family members retraced David’s trek in China, finding no proof that he perished during his hike.

“There’s no evidence of that – zero,” said Kathleen Sneddon, adding that her son is the “only American missing in China since World II whose body has not been found and whose whereabouts remain unknown.”

The Sneddon’s disclosed their findings to the U.S. State Department, but officials there backed the Chinese police’s story.

“One theory is the North Koreans kidnapped him to take him home to Kim Jong Il as a gift—an American who could be useful to him,” said Melanie Kirkpatrick, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and an expert on North Korea.

According to Fox News, Kirkpatrick “cited a September 2016 Japanese news report in which a South Korean organization specializing in North Korean abductions claimed Sneddon was kidnapped for the purpose of teaching English to North Korean government officials—including the late ruler’s son, Kim Jong Un. The report went on to claim Sneddon was currently living in Pyongyang, where he teaches English and is married with two children.”

“The evidence [of a kidnapping] is circumstantial, but it’s very strong,” Kirkpatrick said. “North Korea has a long history of kidnapping people – forcing them to work at whatever position the North deems it needs,” said Kirkpatrick, who wrote a book titled, “Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia’s Underground Railroad.”

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