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DNA registration helps elderly couple to find son in 45 years

DNA registration helps elderly couple to find son in 45 years

Posted May. 09, 2023 08:03,   

Updated May. 09, 2023 08:03


"That's my child. Yes, he is!"

On Thursday morning, Jeong Cheong-myeong (79) and his wife Cha Ta-dong (75) tearfully embraced their long lost son, Eun-seok (54), at a welfare center for the disabled in Yangsan, South Gyeongsang Province. Eun-seok, who has an intellectual disability, disappeared from his home in Wanam-dong, Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, in December 1978 when he was 10 years old.

The emotional reunion, 45 years in the making, was possible thanks to the 'DNA Registration System' currently operated by the police.

Mr. Jeong, who had always been preoccupied with thoughts of his son, learned about the system in March and registered his DNA at Changwon Central Police Station. With assistance from Mugungwha Academy, the welfare center where Eun-seok had been residing, his DNA had been registered already in 2004.

Police confirmed through DNA analysis that the genetic material collected from Jeong's oral epithelial cells matched over 99% with Eun-seok's and proceeded to arrange the family reunion. Eun-seok's mother, Cha, expressed her gratitude to the police and the welfare center, saying, "I visited every nursery in the area after losing my son. I am overjoyed to have found him, as I never imagined I would see him again in my lifetime."

Eun-seok, who has an intellectual disability, had a history of getting lost easily since childhood. After he disappeared, the couple filed a missing person report and searched for him across the country for several years, but their efforts were unsuccessful. According to the police, he was found eight days after he went missing in Jinhae-gu, Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, and has since been living at Mugungae Academy and stayed there until now. A police official stated, "We will continue to actively promote the DNA Registration System to help families of long-term missing persons reunite."