How far would you go for puppy love? For one 18-year-old American identified as Pratt, it was a journey of more than 7, 000 miles from Ohio all the way to Jiangshan, Zhejiang province in China. Pratt had traveled overseas to meet up with a friend he’d met online, a trip that hadn’t only ended in disappointment, but nearly in his death.
Qianjiang TV and Qianjiang Evening News reported last week that at around 6:00 p.m. on February 18th, the eve of the lunar new year, Pratt (translation of 普拉蒂) was found passed out on a staircase adjacent to Xu River, lying next to a suitcase and a pool of his own vomit.
“His clothes and shoes were soaked, ” said a police officer from the Cheng Bei Police Station who found Pratt. “He was very close to the water,” said the officer, adding that even a small push could’ve led to the teen’s drowning.
Pratt was taken to a local hospital. After regaining consciousness, he found he had only 60 RMB ($9.59) left in his pocket. He was escorted to a hotel room, which, after the teenager’s case was reported to hotel management, was provided at no charge.
According to reports, Pratt had come to Zhejiang to meet with a girl he’d met online called Xiaoqian (a pseudonym). He met Xiaoqian at the beginning of 2015 and, impressed by girl’s good looks and fluent English, became instantly smitten. After several pleasant conversations, the two exchanged numbers and engaged in video chats. “I’m gonna visit you there,” Pratt had told her once.
That he did. Pratt arrived in Xiamen, Fujian Province on January 19, 2015 and managed to go to Jiangshan to meet the girl before the Chinese New Year. The details of the meeting have been kept only between the two.
On February 18, Pratt dialed the girl’s number several times. His final call was met with a firm refusal to meet up, and, eventually, he was blocked.
Rejected and helpless, the teenager resorted to a bottle of baijiu. The first-time drinker was spotted cursing and staggering near Xu River, where he was found passed out later that night.
After being escorted away by cops, the teen was inconsolable. Police reached Xiaoqian on the phone that night, and while she admitted that Pratt was an acquaintance, she refused to meet with him at the hotel.
On February 19, Pratt had left the hotel without informing anyone. He was confirmed by Jiangshan Police to have departed for America on February 21.
By Lily Lin