David Sneddon was a 24-year old junior and Asian Languages major
at Brigham Young University in Utah. David went to Beijin,
China to learn the Chinese language after learning Korean during his
two-year Mormon mission in South Korea. In the summer of 2004,
he and a friend from BYU (George Bailey) traveled to tourist sites
in China. Bailey returned home to the States, but Sneddon
traveled on to Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan Province in southwest
China. David was last seen in China on August 10, 2004.
His family (parents Roy and Kathleen Sneddon and ten siblings)
believe that he was abducted, although there were some North Korean
reports that he fell while hiking into the gorge and died. If
the latter is the case, why was his body not recovered?
Furthermore, there are eyewitness reports that David was seen after
his hike into Tiger Leaping Gorge. His tour guide walked with
David through the gorge area and they ultimately arrived at a youth
hotel called Tina's Guesthouse.
The Committee for Human Rights in
North Korea states that some 180,000 prisoners have been captured by
North Korea. David was last seen in a restaurant located near
the so-called "Asian Underground Railroad", a network of mostly
Christian missionaries who help North Korean defectors flee to
safety. US government officials believe that David was
abducted and, against his will, is being held in North Korea.
It is reported that David is married and has two children, and was
the English teacher for Kim Jong Un before he came to power, but
there is no proof of this.
According Senator Mike Lee of Utah:
"I, along with several of my colleagues in Congress, have
introduced a joint resolution expressing our concern about the
disappearance of David Sneddon. The resolution encourages the
State Department and Intelligence Community to investigate all
plausible explanations for David’s disappearance—including
abduction by North Korea. The resolution further encourages the
United States government to work with the Sneddon family and our
allies in the region to investigate the disappearance and
hopefully secure his release. This resolution is a start, and I
pray that one day soon the Sneddon family will be reunited with
An article by Anna Fifield in the Washington Post,
September 18, 2016 states:
"Choi Sung-yong, president of the Abductees' Family Union in
Seoul, says he has information placing the American man, David
Sneddon, in Pyongyang. Now 36, Sneddon goes by the Korean name
Yoon Bong Soo. He is married to a woman named Kim Eun Hae and
they have two children, a boy and a girl, Choi said, citing
evidence from an informant in Pyongyang."