KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5 — A family in China has been reunited with their son 25 years after he was taken from them — thanks to technology.
Authorities used a facial comparison algorithm that takes age-related changes and family similarities into account to reunite Xie Qingshuai with his parents, reported China Daily.
Qingshuai's family was living at Xingtai, Hebei province in 1998 at the time of the incident when his mother left the then three-month-old boy with the door unlocked to buy groceries.
When she returned 10 minutes later, Qingshuai was nowhere to be found.
The matter was reported to the police and a search that extended to Beijing, Tianjin and Henan province were mounted, but the child was not found.
Qingshuai's father Kefeng kept up his own search, spending almost all his savings in the process and the boy's mother slipped into depression, and remained on medication for almost 10 years.
Kefeng, 52, was informed of Qingshuai last month when he received a call from the police informing him that a facial comparison led to his son being found, and a DNA comparison later confirmed that it was indeed his long-lost son.
Investigations showed two people were involved in the abduction.
While one of the suspects had since died, another was taken into custody by the police and a middleman who helped to sell the baby was also apprehended.
Qingshuai, who now works in Chengdu, Sichuan province, was reunited with his parents and siblings on Friday.
Investigations revealed that Qingshuai was initially sold to a couple who lived in Handan, another city in Hebei.
After the man he knew as his father died, his wife remarried and moved away, leaving Qingshuai to be taken care of by his “adoptive” grandparents.
News of Qingshuai reuniting with his family was shared by Beijing DeepGlint Technology Co, an artificial intelligence technology company, on Weibo on Sunday.
The company said it used photos of both parents and the boy's older brother to help the facial comparison algorithm narrow the search down to five possibilities.
It said that Qingshuai was the fourth abducted person it had helped the police locate in the past six months.