A 17-year-old Chinese exchange student, who had gone missing, was discovered ‘extremely frightened and chilled’ within a tent on a mountainside following what appears to be a case of ‘cyber abduction.’

Discovery of Kai Zhuang

Kai Zhuang, a 17-year-old Chinese exchange student, was found in the Brigham City Canyon area on Sunday night. He had been staying with a host family in Riverdale, Utah, as part of a foreign exchange program.

The situation turned dire when his parents in China received a ransom letter demanding $80,000, prompting concerns about his safety.

Rescue and Circumstances

Authorities located Zhuang in the mountains after a public appeal by the Riverdale Police Department. He was reported missing after being last seen around 3:30 am on a Thursday.

The family he stayed with was unaware of his disappearance, having last seen and heard from him the night before.

Police described Zhuang as being ‘manipulated and controlled’ by cyber kidnappers who made him believe his family was in danger.

Law Enforcement Efforts

Collaboration between local law enforcement, the FBI, the U.S. Embassy in China, and Chinese officials ensued to secure Zhuang’s safety.

Detective Sergeant Engstrom discovered Zhuang’s tent in a wooded area and found the teen alive but in a distressed state due to extreme cold temperatures.

Authorities found evidence suggesting Zhuang had been used to carry out the cyber kidnapping scheme.

Nature of Cyber Kidnapping

The modus operandi of cyber kidnappers involves coercing victims into isolating themselves, fabricating distressing images or situations, and demanding ransom from their families.

They specifically target foreign exchange students and use psychological manipulation to execute their plans.

Zhuang’s Condition and Investigation

Following his discovery, Zhuang was examined for hypothermia and received medical clearance.

He was able to speak with his family and was provided with care before being transported to the Riverdale Police Department.

Police, prior to his rescue, had received reports that Zhuang was forcibly taken from his home, but investigations indicated otherwise.

Continued Investigations

The incident has shed light on the growing issue of cyber kidnapping, prompting a deeper understanding of its methods and risks.

Authorities, through tracking Zhuang’s activities, discovered his interactions and purchases related to setting up a campsite, raising questions about his involvement before his rescue.

Ongoing Inquiries

While efforts are ongoing to uncover more details, the investigation remains active.

DailyMail.com reached out to the Riverdale Police Department for further information but did not receive a response at the time of this report.

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