NATIONAL NEWS

Missing Chinese exchange student found safe in Utah following cyber kidnapping scheme, police say

Jan 1, 2024, 2:19 PM | Updated: 4:34 pm

RIVERDALE, Utah (AP) — A foreign exchange student from China who was reported missing last week in Utah has been found in what authorities said was an apparent “cyber kidnapping” scheme to extort $80,000 from the student’s family.

The 17-year-old student was reported missing Friday, a day after he was last seen at the home where he had been staying in Riverdale, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from Salt Lake City.

Riverdale police initially said that they believed the student had been forcefully taken from his home. But on Sunday night they said he was found safe in a tent about 25 miles (40 kilometers) away from Riverdale in the Brigham City area.

He was convinced that his family in China was threatened and that he needed to isolate himself, according to police. It’s unclear how he received this information or why he was isolating himself.

Meanwhile, his family had received a ransom note and photograph of the student that made it appear that he’d been abducted and was in danger. The family paid $80,000 in ransom before he was found.

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Missing Chinese exchange student found safe in Utah following cyber kidnapping scheme, police say