DNA matching helps missing Taiwanese child reunite with family

The parents welcomed their missing son home in tears.

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Lin Chun-yen (林俊彥), Forensic Serology Division chief at the IFM. (CNA photo)

Lin Chun-yen (林俊彥), Forensic Serology Division chief at the IFM. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A set of Taiwanese parents have recently reunited with their 18-year-old son who went missing in 2001 when he was only two months old, thanks to the DNA matching technology and the parents' unwavering determination to find their missing son, Liberty Times reported.

The DNA matching was conducted by the Institute of Forensic Medicine (IFM), Ministry of Justice, where the DNA samples of unclaimed bodies and many people involved in criminal cases are kept. Lin Chun-yen (林俊彥), Forensic Serology Division chief at the IFM, jokingly said they “have finally matched the DNA to a living person,” adding that the reunion was made possible by the parents’ perseverance to find their child as well as by the effort of a child welfare organization .

Lin said that after the infant went missing, the anxious parents had looked around to find him and asked the gods for a prophecy. However, their efforts didn’t yield any meaningful results.

The parents kept prying, hoping to know their child's whereabouts whether he is alive or dead, Lin said. After the Child Welfare League Foundation (CWLF,兒福聯盟) took the case, they had the DNA of the mother surnamed Liao (廖) extracted and sent the sample to the IFM for a match, but no match was ever found, the division chief added.

The determined mother and the CWLF continued to check related data and files, and finally they found that a boy placed under the care of Taoyuan City Government’s Center for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention had characteristics similar to those of the missing infant, according to Liberty Times.

The mother and CWLF personnel rushed to the center, talked with the boy, and asked him to have his DNA sample taken. The boy agreed, and the sample was sent to the IFM for a match.

A match was found and it was confirmed that the 18-year-old boy is the infant who went missing almost 18 years ago, Liberty Times reported. The parents welcomed their missing son home in tears, according to the news outlet.

The infant reportedly was adopted after he went missing, but his adoptive parents divorced not long after adopting him. He then lived with his adoptive mother, who later abandoned him. The child was by himself and lived as a drifter. Social welfare units finally stepped in to help him settle down and placed him under the care of the center, Liberty Times reported.

Lin was happy that the IFM played a role in helping to reunite the family, adding that there are more than 20,000 DNA samples in the institute and urging families who have missing members to send their samples to the center for a match.