SALT LAKE CITY — A resolution passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday directs the State Department and Intelligence Community to investigate whether North Korean government operatives abducted a BYU student who disappeared in China in 2004.
The resolution on behalf of David Sneddon was introduced by Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah.
Sneddon's family has long been doubtful of Chinese officials' explanation that he most likely drowned during a hike in the Yunnan Province in western China. His body was never recovered.
A news report from Yahoo Japan asserts that Sneddon is living and teaching English in Pyongyang. The article states that Sneddon may have a wife and two children and that Kim Jong-un, North Korea's dictatorial leader, is one of his former pupils.
Sneddon, then 24, may have been of interest to the North Korean regime for because he can speak Korean fluently and could be useful for translating and training government officials, his parents believe. He had previously served as a missionary in South Korea for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"There is no evidence of an accident and there are witnesses who claim they saw Sneddon after he finished hiking," Allison Leavitt, spokeswoman for Stewart's office, said in a statement Wednesday.
Sneddon grew up in Nebraska. His parents currently live in Providence.
Stewart pressed Wednesday for relief on behalf of Sneddon's family.
"There is more work to be done by the State Department and Intelligence Community,” he said. “Particularly given the recent reports that David may be alive, David’s family deserves answers, and until we find those answers, we should continue to pursue all possible explanations for David’s disappearance.”
Kathleen Sneddon said last month that the Yahoo Japan report about her son's whereabouts "doesn't surprise me at all."
"We just knew in our heart that he was alive," she said.