Beijing: A Chinese man kidnapped 23 years ago at the age of five and sold to a family 1,500 km from his home, has been reunited with his family again, all thanks to Google Maps.
28-year-old Luo Gang from southwest China's Sichuan province, abducted and taken to Fujian province 23 years ago, has finally found his way home after spending years trying to work out where he came from, the South China Morning Post reported.
Luo, 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 their son, but to no avail. They eventually gave up and later adopted a daughter.
What they didn't know was that their son had been taken to a city in southeastern Fujian province, some 1500 kilometres from Sichuan.
Although Luo's adopted parents loved him and treated him like their own son, he said the desire to find his biological 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 memory Luo had of his hometown was of two bridges.
He drew a rough map of his hometown from memory, before posting it on 'Bring Lost Babies Home', a Chinese website devoted to locating missing children through the help of volunteers.
Soon afterwards, a volunteer wrote back with valuable information - a couple from a small town in Sichuan's Guangan city had lost a son 23 years ago. The time matched Luo's abduction perfectly.
Luo searched for pictures of the Sichuan town and found they looked familiar to him. To confirm his suspicions, he turned to the satellite version Google Maps. The minute he zoomed in on an area called 'Yaojiaba' near the Sichuan town, Luo recognised the two bridges.
"That's it! That's my home," shouted Luo, in tears. Luo was pictured in a tearful reunion with his birth parents and grandparents in Sichuan.
"Every time I thought about my son I couldn't stop crying, imagining that he was going hungry or didn't have enough clothes to wear," Luo's mother told reporters after meeting with the young man.
It is unclear whether any criminal charges will be brought against Luo's adoptive family.