BEIJING, China – A Chinese foreign exchange student in Utah is reportedly being held against his will, as his parents in China claim to have received a ransom demand along with a photo of their son, according to the police.
The unsettling series of events began when 17-year-old Kai Zhuang was last seen in the early hours of Thursday morning at his host family’s home, prompting concerns of an abduction. The Utah Department of Public Safety and the Riverdale Police Department quickly raised the alarm and launched an investigation.
Riverdale Police Chief Casey Warren revealed that the high school attended by the foreign exchange student had informed officers that Kai’s parents in China reported receiving a photograph suggesting he had been abducted. The parents also disclosed receiving a demand for ransom, thereby elevating the situation. The police chief clarified that the host family was unaware of the teenager’s disappearance.
Although authorities initially suspected that Kai had been forcibly taken, Chief Warren backtracked on this claim without providing further details. However, it is believed that he is currently being held against his will, although the identity of the captors remains unknown.
Amidst the ongoing investigation, law enforcement agencies including the FBI, the U.S. Embassy in China, and Chinese officials are collaborating to resolve the alarming situation. Unfortunately, the police have been unable to issue an Amber Alert for the teenager as they do not have any suspects yet.
Described as approximately 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing around 150 pounds, with black hair and dark eyes, Kai’s last known outfit is unknown; however, he has often been seen wearing a green jacket.
Authorities are facing limited information at this point, highlighting the challenges faced in finding the missing teen. Further updates will be provided as the investigation unfolds.