Chinese family miraculously find lost daughter after tortuous 24-year search
Millions of people around the world go missing each year, often without ever being found again.
Where younger people are concerned, cases sometimes turn out to be runaways - but there are still many instances where more sinister behavior has come into play. Kidnapping, trafficking, and murder all account for some of the disappearances of children and infants, and cases that go on without resolution for a significant amount of time are pretty much considered to be a lost cause.
So, when Wang Mingqing and his wife Liu Dengying lost their three-year-old daughter, Qifeng, in 1994, they very soon realized that the chances of finding her again were very slim.
This year, however, a miracle happened.
At the time Qifeng went missing, Wang and Liu were fruit sellers. They owned a roadside stall in the Chinese city of Chegndu, and would bring their daughter along with them during the workday. One day, while at work, the couple realized that the toddler was no longer standing with them, and immediately began a search for her.
Wang gave multiple news interviews at the time, put up posters, displayed advertisements in newspapers, set up online appeals, and frequently went out looking for Qifeng. Even after two decades of not finding their daughter, the couple made the decision never to leave Chengdu, just in case Qifeng returned and came looking for them.
Then, three years ago, in 2015, Wang decided to give his search efforts one last push by taking a job as a taxi driver with a company called Didi Chuxing. He utilized his position in the role by putting up a large sign asking for information about Qifeng on his rear window, and also gave out cards to anyone and everyone who hailed his cab.
Unfortunately, he did not have any pictures of his Qifeng as a toddler, so he used a picture of his other daughter because she apparently looked similar.
But Wang's desperate attempt seemed to at least be getting somewhere with the search, as it caught the attention of Chinese media and reignited public interest in the hunt for Qifeng. In an interview with one news station, he said: "One day, my daughter may just be the person sitting in my car!"
Following that, a breakthrough came about in late 2017, when a police sketch artist heard about the story and volunteered his skills to help out. He created an image of what Qifeng might look like now as a woman in her twenties, and then distributed it online.
And, amazingly, it got a response.
Thousands of miles from Chengdu, a woman named Kang Ying saw the sketch and thought it looked a lot like her. She read up on the case, and discovered that she shared the same scar on her forehead as the missing child, and also experienced a feeling of nausea whenever she cried - something that doesn't affect many people.
So she got in touch with Wang. The pair arranged for a DNA test and - against all odds - it came back as a positive match.
Speaking for the first time over the phone on Monday, Wang said to his daughter: "From now on, Dad is here - you don't need to worry about anything - Dad will help you."
Then, on Tuesday, they were reunited in person, and Wang got to meet his son-in-law and granddaughter at the same time.
Reports have stated that Kang was actually brought up just 20km away from her parents, but did not disclose how she went missing, or who had been acting as her parents for all that time.