A Man Drew The Village Where He Was Kidnapped At Age 4 & TikTokers Actually Found His Home

He drew the same map every day for decades!

Senior Global Editor
A Man Drew The Village Where He Was Kidnapped At Age 4 & TikTokers Actually Found His Home

How well do you remember your childhood town? Could you draw it from memory — and if you did, would it actually make sense?

A man who was kidnapped at the age of 4 has rediscovered his family 33 years later, after drawing a map of his hometown and asking people on China's version of TikTok for help.

"I felt like I was born again," the man, Li Jingwei, said after a tearful reunion with his mom on New Year's Day.

Li was only 4 years old when he was abducted into a child trafficking ring in the late 1980s, the state-owned China Daily newspaper reports. Li was taken from a village in Yunnan province and given to another family in the city of Lankao, about 1,600 kilometres away.

The boy grew up with that family but he never forgot about his home, and he would sketch out the landscape of his village in the ground every day so that he could keep it fresh in his memory, the paper describes.

Li, who is now 37, couldn't remember his parents' names but he did remember what his hometown looks like, so he made a detailed drawing and asked for help with finding the spot on Douyin, China's name for TikTok.

Police reportedly examined his drawing and matched it up with the small village of Zhaotong. From there they used DNA evidence to find Li's mother, who had moved to another city. The whole investigation reportedly took about two weeks.

"I didn't expect to find my family so soon," Li said.

Li and his mom chatted via video call first and he knew right away that he'd found the right person.

"I recognized her at a glance," Li said, according to a translation by Sky News. "My mother and I have the same lips. Even my teeth." His mom also told him that his drawing was very accurate, right down to the house he'd drawn "which is still the same now."

The two were ultimately reunited on January 1 in an emotional moment captured on video.

"I've finally found my baby," Li's mom said, according to China's The Paper via CNN.

Li has been posting lots of videos with his mom and newfound siblings ever since.

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