SALT LAKE CITY — U.S. Senator Mike Lee and Rep. Chris Stewart, two Republican members of Utah's congressional delegation, introduced a concurrent resolution Wednesday urging the State Department to investigate if a missing Brigham Young University student was abducted in China by North Korean officials.
The resolution raises concerns that David Sneddon, 24 years old when he vanished in 2004, may have been stolen away by the North Korean government so that the regime there could make use of his ability to speak fluent Korean.
Sneddon, who grew up in Nebraska but whose parents now live in Providence in Cache County, served a mission in South Korea for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to Lee and Stewart.
Sneddon's family has previously said they don't believe Chinese officials' explanation that he likely drowned while hiking in the Yunnan Province in western China. His body was never found, they said.
"The Sneddon family, along with various experts in North Korean policy, believe that the North Korea government may have abducted David, using his language skills to train government officials and operatives," Allison Leavitt, spokeswoman for Stewart's office, said in a statement.
Stewart presented the resolution before the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday. Lee did the same in the Senate. U.S. Representatives Rob Bishop, Jason Chaffetz and Mia Love, all Republicans, co-sponsored the resolution, as did Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch.
“The evidence indicates that there are still a lot of unanswered questions about David’s disappearance" Stewart said in a statement. "David’s family deserves answers to those questions, and until we find those answers I will continue urging the state department to pursue all possible explanations for David’s disappearance.”
Lee agreed with Stewart's urging for action on behalf of Sneddon's family members, who have continued to investigate what may have happened to him.
"At the time of his disappearance, David had his whole life ahead of him," Lee said in a statement. "But in August 2004 it was tragically cut short. The Sneddon family deserves to know why."