This is incredible. A Sichuan man, abducted as a five year old and taken to Fujian province, found his way home after spending years analysing Google Maps to work out where he came from, according to Nhaidu.
Luo Gang, born in a small town near Guangan, Sichuan province, was abducted 23 years ago and taken almost 1,500 kilometres away to a city in Fujian province. Though Luo says his adopted parents loved him and treated him well, he was haunted by a desire to find his birth parents.
The SCMP explains how he did it:
“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 were 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 finally reunited with his birth family this week, 23 years after he was taken from them.
In October we wrote about a man from Guizhou who was reunited with his parents 20 years after he was kidnapped, thanks to online resources for victims of kidnapping and their families.
This isn’t the first time Google has been credited with reuniting lost children with their families either. In November Vanity Fair published the incredible story of Saroo Munshi Khan, who, using Google Earth, managed to find the village near Calcutta where he grew up, and where he’d gone missing from over two decades previously.
Addendum: Someone please tell Google Hong Kong how to take advantage of an amazing fucking publicity opportunity:
A spokesperson at Google’s Hong Kong office told the South China Morning Post on Friday that they would not comment on the case.
Update 15.25 CST: As pointed out by commenter ‘Could Be Wrong’ below, we rather neglected to credit Baby Come Home, an incredible charity that made all of this possible (along with some Googling by Luo). We first wrote about Baby Come Home in 2011, you should give them money.