April 3 (UPI) — A couple in China who have been searching for their kidnapped daughter for nearly a quarter-century were reunited with her on Tuesday.
Wang Mingqing and wife Liu Chengying began looking for 3-year-old Qifeng in 1994 after she disappeared from a fruit stand in Chengdu. The couple eventually had a second child, but they never gave up looking for the girl.
Wang became a taxi driver in 2015 — mostly so he could keep up the search. In the job, he noticed how so many customers used their phones, so he asked for their help posting appeals on social media. Wang handed out 10,000 fliers with details about the case and a description of how Qifeng looked when she went missing.
“In the past two years, I have always been waiting for one passenger — my missing daughter,” he said.
In the years since, he heard from several young women who thought they might be his daughter — but DNA tests ruled out each case.
Sunday, one of the DNA tests yielded a different result.
“I can’t tell you how much hope, disappointment and despair we have gone through these past 24 years. Now we can finally meet again,” Wang said.
The missing girl, now 27 and a mother of two named Kang Ying, contacted Wang after reading about his search and realizing she might be his daughter. She’d been told she was adopted and grew up in a town just 12 miles away from her biological parents.
The three were reunited Tuesday, and the emotional scene was captured on video.
“From now on, Dad is here. You don’t need to worry about anything — Dad will help you,” Wang told her.
Helping make the match, a police sketch artist volunteered to help the search by age-progressing a picture of the missing girl.
Kang saw the sketch and was shocked by the likeness. After contacting authorities, she learned about other details that matched her description, such as a small scar on her head.
“The whole world told me I didn’t have a mother, but I do,” Kang said.
In China, up to 20,000 children are thought to be trafficked each year.