TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — After the disappearance of a female middle school student three days ago, police on Tuesday morning (Sept. 1) found her alive, along with the convicted sex offender who allegedly lured her away.
A 14-year-old student left her home in Kaohsiung on Saturday (Aug. 29) and took the Taiwan High-Speed Rail (THSR) to Hsinchu. As soon as she entered the waiting automobile of a stranger, her family and friends lost contact with her.
Anxious, her mother called the police for help, but they found that her GPS coordinates were constantly changing, leaving them unable to pinpoint her location. A user of the popular online message board PTT found through data comparison and analysis that the email and phone number of the man who met the girl matched that of a 31-year-old man surnamed Lo (羅), who was convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting two middle school girls in 2018.
After tracking down and questioning two of Lo’s friends, surnamed Lu (盧) and Wang (王), late on Monday evening (Aug. 31), police were finally able to determine the whereabouts of the girl and Lo. At about 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning, police found the student and Lo on Zhongxing Road in Hsinchu County’s Zhudong Township, reported UDN.
On Monday, police located the car the girl had been spotted entering at the high-speed rail station in Hsinchu on Saturday. Police discovered that the driver was a 37-year-old man surnamed Lu (盧), who said that he had indeed picked her up at the THSR station before taking her to Huanhe Road in New Taipei City’s Yonghe District.
Inconsistencies in Lu’s account caused police to become suspicious. Forensic officers returned to his car on Monday evening to collect more evidence, including a computer, 10 paper documents and promissory notes, and fingerprints.
Investigators then took Lu in for additional questioning and found that he and Lo had been trying to lure young girls. The two men were found to be not only acquainted but in regular contact with each other.
At 8:50 a.m. on Tuesday, the trail of clues finally led officers to the apartment in eastern Hsinchu County, where the missing teen and Lu were staying. Police have taken both to the station for questioning.