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Kidnapped child returns home after 23 years with aid of Google Maps

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 May, 2013, 5:29am


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A Sichuan man, abducted and taken to Fujian province at the age of five, has finally found his way home after spending years trying to work out where he came from.

And he says he could not have done it without the help of Google Maps, Fujian's news portal reports.

Luo Gang, who was born in a small town in Guangan city, disappeared on his way to kindergarten 23 years ago, said his parents. Heartbroken, they did everything they could to find him, but to no avail.

What they did not know was that their son had been taken to southeastern Fujian, some 1,500 kilometres away.

Everyday before I went to bed, I forced myself to re-live the life spent in my old home. So I wouldn't forget

Although Luo's adopted parents loved him and treated him like their own son, he said the desire to find his birth parents had always haunted him.

"Everyday before I went to bed, I forced myself to re-live the life spent in my old home," he said. "So I wouldn't forget."

But the only concrete thing Luo could remember about his hometown was two bridges. He drew a rough map of his hometown from memory and posted it on "Bring Lost Babies Home", a website devoted to locating missing children.

Soon afterwards, a volunteer wrote back saying that a couple from a small town in Guangan city had lost a son 23 years ago. The time matched Luo's abduction perfectly.

Luo searched for pictures of the town and found that they looked familiar to him. To confirm his suspicions, he turned to the satellite version of Google Maps. When he zoomed in on an area called "Yaojiaba" near the Sichuan town, Luo recognised the two bridges.

"That's it! That's my home," Luo shouted as he teared up.

He was later pictured in a tearful reunion with his birth parents and grandparents in Sichuan.