Still hoping: BYU student vanished in China 5 years ago; family believes he's alive

The Sneddons still remember the first thing American officials told them when they learned their son, David, was missing.

"You cannot lose an American in China," mother Kathleen Sneddon recounts. "I will never forget hearing that from the embassy."

That was five years ago.

And David Sneddon is still lost.


"We have not given up," Kathleen says. "We're never giving up on it. The case is in our minds constantly."

David was 24 when he went to China the summer before his senior year at BYU. He spent the summer improving his Mandarin Chinese in Beijing and touring the Yunnan Province.

But when he missed a flight to Seoul for an important business meeting and then missed his flight back to the United States, his family knew something was wrong.

Two weeks later, David's father, Roy, and David's older brothers, Michael and James, were in China retracing David's steps and talking with local police.

"We think he was picked up," Roy Sneddon said. "I don't think there's a question about that."

After several visits over as many years, the family has tracked David's steps through Tiger Leaping Gorge, then on to Shangri-La, where he was last seen around noon on Aug. 14, 2004.

Read the rest of this story at
Comments and feedback can be sent to